We explain what are the specific properties of matter and the main characteristics of each of them with useful examples.
What are the specific properties of matter?
The matter we know has numerous characteristics that allow us to classify, order and find out more about its origins . Some of these properties are general, that is, shared with all forms of matter we know, such as length, weight , volume , etc.
But there are also specific properties of matter, that is, properties that have only some forms of matter, and that allow us to differentiate a body from another, an element from another or a substance from another. These characteristics are essential or specific, since they are unique depending on the type of matter studied .
These properties have to do mainly with the nature itself and the physical behavior of matter , that is, its recurrent reaction to certain stimuli. Matter of the same type, say, of the same element, will always behave the same since it always has the same specific properties.
Hence, most of the methods of phase separation or separation of matter employ methods that exploit these properties and not others, since in the same substance there may be mixed several types of matter , each with their respective unique properties. Thus, all the elements of matter have a degree of density or a melting point, for example, but it will never be the same for each one.
When we talk about density of matter , we mean how concentrated matter is in a body . It is determined by the narrowness with which the molecules of an element coexist with others equal to it, so it is a relationship between mass and volume (Density = mass / volume).
For example, a kilogram of wood and a kilogram of lead are easily distinguished by their density, which is much higher in the case of lead. Their molecules are much tighter with each other.
The melting point is the maximum temperature at which a solid enters the liquid state . This occurs through the injection of heat, and represents a top temperature: no matter how much heat is added to the solid (which becomes liquid), its temperature will not increase. In addition, this property is different in each known element, so that lead melts at 327.3 ° C, but aluminum at 658.7 ° C and iron at 1530 ° C.
Elasticity is the ability of matter to recover its original form , as soon as the application of a force that forced it to change (deformational force) ceases. That is: some elements have shape memory, that is, they return to their original form as soon as we stop forcing them to have another. This is the case with rubber or rubber, but not with aluminum (which deforms as it is) or glass (which does not deform, only part).
We call brightness to the ability of matter to reflect certain spectra of light , and is typical of metallic or mineral elements. This shine can be metallic, adamantine, pearly or vitreous, depending on what substance we use as reference ( metal , diamond, mother of pearl or glass).
Hardness is the natural resistance of certain elements to be scratched , that is, to slightly penetrate their surface with other material. Thus, the hardest materials are difficult to scratch, such as diamond, while the plaster is extremely simple to scratch.
As well as the melting point, the boiling point is a maximum and unique temperature at which an element passes from the liquid to the gaseous state . This occurs due to the increase in kinetic energy that the added heat distributes among the particles , which begin to vibrate much faster. Thus, the boiling point of water is 100 ° C, but that of mercury is 356.6 ° C.