Topic – Properties of Matter

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Properties of Matter

What Are Properties?

Objects have different properties. Properties are characteristics that we can notice with our five senses, or characteristics that we can measure or test.

Types of Properties

You can easily tell the difference between a lemon and a lime because your sense of sight tells you that one is yellow and the other is green. Colour is a property. Mass and volume are two other properties of matter. You can measure these properties.

Solubility—how easily a substance dissolves in a liquid. If you put sand in a glass of water and stir, the sand will not dissolve. It is not soluble. If you put sugar in a glass of water and stir, the sugar will dissolve. Sugar is soluble. Some substances dissolve more easily than others.

Viscosity—how easily a substance flows. Imagine pouring a cup of milk and a cup of honey. Which will pour out first? The milk, of course! Viscosity is really about how much a substance resists flowing. Honey has higher viscosity than milk because honey resists flowing more than milk does.

Transparency—how well light passes through a substance. If the substance is clear (you can see objects through it), it is transparent. If light passes through the substance, but you cannot see objects through it, it is translucent. If no light passes through the substance, it is opaque.

Hardness—how easily an object changes shape. A hard object, such as a rock, does not change shape easily. A soft object, such as a pillow, changes shape easily. If you push down on a pillow—even with very little force—you will make a dent in it. The shape of the pillow has changed.

Why is it important to understand the properties of matter? People who design products consider the properties of the materials they use. For example, if you are going to make sponges or diapers, you will need to consider the absorbency of the materials you use. Materials and the products we make from them are all made of matter.

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