Look Properties of Matter Matter has other properties

Look around you. Everything you can see, touch or feel is made of matter, and matter has different properties. In this lesson, you will learn about matter as well as its physical and chemical properties.

What Is Matter?

Matter is all around us. It’s all the stuff in the universe – anything that takes up space. Your computer, the walls around you, the clouds in the air, and the massive sun 92 million miles away are all made of matter.If you think about the things around you and how they look, act, and feel, you may realize that matter comes in different states: solid, liquid and gas. Take water, for example. When it’s frozen into ice, it’s a solid, but when it’s melted, it’s a liquid.

When you boil water and it rises up as steam, the water become gas.All matter in all its different states has physical properties and chemical properties. Let’s explore these properties.

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Physical Properties of Matter

A physical property is any characteristic of matter that’s observable.

If you were to pick up an apple, how would you describe it? It’s smooth, hard, red, and tastes sweet. These are some observable properties.In physics, the physical properties also include anything that can be measured. There are two very important physical properties:

  • Volume: how much space matter takes up
  • Mass: the amount of matter in a given object

It can be easy to confuse these two properties, but remember that volume is different than mass. A simplified way to think about it is that mass is weight and volume is size. Think of a brick and a large shoebox.

The brick weighs more (has more mass) than the shoebox, but takes up less space (has less volume) than the shoebox.

Does All Matter Have Volume and Mass?

All matter (everything around you) has both volume and mass. Think about it – can you think of anything that doesn’t have weight or take up space? Anything that has a physical presence is considered matter, and all matter has volume and mass.You may be surprised to learn that there actually are some things in the universe that aren’t matter.

These are called abstract, which means they don’t have a physical existence. Some examples include energy, heat, light, and sound. And so, these abstract things have no volume or mass.

Chemical Properties of Matter

Matter has other properties besides physical properties.

Matter can also have chemical properties, which are behaviors that matter displays when it goes through a chemical change. So, chemical properties are the changes in the identity of the matter that occur after reacting with something else.For instance, the way that matter (for example, metal) changes when it reacts with oxygen is a chemical property. If you leave a metal hammer outside all summer, chances are it will start to rust. This occurs when the iron in metal reacts with oxygen and the moisture in the air. These conditions lead to the creation of iron oxide, which is the red stuff we call rust.

This chemical change is known as oxidation. How much, if at all, matter experiences oxidation is a chemical property.

Lesson Summary

Matter is all around us – it’s the stuff that makes up everything you can see or touch. Matter can have physical properties, such as volume (how much space matter takes up) and mass (the amount of atoms in matter). It can also have chemical properties, which are characteristics that you can observe after matter has gone through a chemical change (like when metal goes through oxidation and become rust).


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