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All of the matter that we encounter in our everyday lives is found in one of the three phases: solid, liquid, or gas. They are important in multiple ways. From simply understanding why an ice cube melts, to understanding how our refrigerator works, phase transitions are crucial to understand in chemistry. In this section it is vital to gain better knowledge of what phase transitions actually are and why these everyday events occur.
A phase transition is the transition from one state of matter to another. There are three states of matter: liquid, solid, and gas.
Now that we have got an understanding of the key concepts involving phase transitions, there are also key terms in how we classify the movement from one state of matter, to another.
The relationships between the key terms mentioned above can be expressed in a standard phase diagram.
The principle goal of this diagram is to show how pressure and temperature affect each of the phases. The major points that you should know on this diagram are the following:
In understanding how a phase diagram works, you must know the different forces that can exist, which hold molecules together. This concept will come up in your latter reading but it is good to know how these forces affect the behavior of the phase transitions. You should know how liquids, solids, and gases are made up of particles and how these particles are able to be held together. It is important to realize that as particles undergo a phase change, the pressure and temperature affect the bonds between the molecules. These forces are called intermolecular forces or Van Der Waals Forces. Van Der Waals Forces can be further broken down into three sub-forces.
This concept is important because it helps to understand that if you have one molecule with with all three of these forces, the molecules in this substance are going to be held so tightly together. This means that it will require more energy to break them apart, creating the boiling point to be higher than that of another molecule, like water. Understanding why examples like this one just described will benefit you in understanding phase transitions in general.
1. Given this diagram, match each letter (A, B, C, & D) with its appropriate definition.
2. _______ is the process by which a gas becomes a liquid.
3. The _______ of a liquid is its resistance to flow.
4. _______ have definite shape and definite volume.
5. _______ is the process by which a gas turns directly to a solid.
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