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The properties of matter

Let us now look at what we have learned about chemical bonds, intermolecular forces and the kinetic theory of matter, and see whetherthis can help us to understand some of the macroscopic properties of materials.

  1. Melting point
    Melting point
    The temperature at which a solid changes its phase or state to become a liquid . The process is called melting and the reverse process (change in phase from liquidto solid) is called freezing .
    In order for a solid to melt, the energy of the particles must increase enough to overcome the bonds that are holding the particlestogether. It makes sense then that a solid which is held together by strong bonds will have a higher melting point than one where the bonds are weak, because more energy (heat) is needed to breakthe bonds. In the examples we have looked at metals, ionic solids and some atomic lattices (e.g. diamond) have high melting points, whereas the meltingpoints for molecular solids and other atomic lattices (e.g. graphite) are much lower. Generally, the intermolecular forces between molecular solids are weaker than those between ionic and metallic solids.
  2. Boiling point
    Boiling point
    The temperature at which a liquid changes its phase to become a gas . The process is called evaporation and the reverse process is called condensation
    When the temperature of a liquid increases, the average kinetic energy of the particles also increases and they are able to overcomethe bonding forces that are holding them in the liquid. When boiling point is reached, evaporation takes place and some particles in the liquid become a gas. In other words, the energy of theparticles is too great for them to be held in a liquid anymore. The stronger the bonds within a liquid, the higher the boiling point needs to be in order tobreak these bonds. Metallic and ionic compounds have high boiling points while the boiling point for molecular liquids is lower.The data in [link] below may help you to understand some of the concepts we have explained. Not all of the substances in the table aresolids at room temperature, so for now, let's just focus on the boiling points for each of these substances. What do you notice?
    The melting and boiling points for a number of substances
    Substance Melting point ( ° C ) Boiling point ( ° C )
    Ethanol ( C 2 H 6 O ) - 114,3 78,4
    Water 0 100
    Mercury -38,83 356,73
    Sodium chloride 801 1465
    You will have seen that substances such as ethanol, with relatively weak intermolecular forces, have the lowest boiling point, while substances withstronger intermolecular forces such as sodium chloride and mercury, must be heated much more if the particles are to have enough energy to overcome theforces that are holding them together in the liquid. See the section below for a further exercise on boiling point.
  3. Density and viscosity
    Density and viscosity is not in CAPS - Included for Completeness
    Density is a measure of the mass of a substance per unit volume.
    The density of a solid is generally higher than that of a liquid because the particles are held much more closely together and therefore thereare more particles packed together in a particular volume. In other words, there is a greater mass of the substance in a particular volume. In general, densityincreases as the strength of the intermolecular forces increases.
    Viscosity is a measure of how resistant a liquid is to flowing (in other words, how easy it is to pour the liquid from one container toanother).
    Viscosity is also sometimes described as the 'thickness' of a fluid. Think for example of syrup and how slowly it pours from one container into another. Now compare this to how easy it is to pour water. The viscosity ofsyrup is greater than the viscosity of water. Once again, the stronger the intermolecular forces in the liquid, the greater its viscosity.

It should be clear now that we can explain a lot of the macroscopic properties of matter (i.e. the characteristics we can see or observe) by understanding their microscopic structure and the way in which the atoms and molecules that make up matter are held together.

Exercise: forces and boiling point

The table below gives the molecular formula and the boiling point for a number of organic compounds called alkanes (more on these compounds in grade 12). Refer to the table and then answer the questions that follow.

Organic compound Molecular formula Boiling point ( ° C )
Methane CH 4 -161.6
Ethane C 2 H 6 - 88.6
Propane C 3 H 8 -45
Butane C 4 H 10 -0.5
Pentane C 5 H 12 36.1
Hexane C 6 H 14 69
Heptane C 7 H 16 98.42
Octane C 8 H 18 125.52
Data from: http://www.wikipedia.com
  1. Draw a graph to show the relationship between the number of carbon atoms in eachalkane and its boiling point. (Number of carbon atoms will go on the x-axis and boiling point on the y-axis).
  2. Describe what you see.
  3. Suggest a reason for what you have observed.
  4. Why was it enough for us to use 'number of carbon atoms' as a measure of the molecular weight of the molecules?

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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The fundamental frequency of a sonometer wire streached by a load of relative density 's'are n¹ and n² when the load is in air and completly immersed in water respectively then the lation n²/na is
Mukesh Reply
Properties of longitudinal waves
Sharoon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11305/1.7
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