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# X INTRODUCTION

Have you ever wondered what matter is? Why is ice a solid, water a liquid and
steam a gas? Why does ice melt and water evaporate? How do clouds and rain
form? We will find out the answers to these questions in the following
discussions. We will examine matter, states of matter and their properties, the
Kinetic Particle Theory, changes of states, formation of clouds and rain through
practical investigations and activities in the Primary Science Curriculum.

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X
The Particulate
Nature of
Matter
LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Describe the concept of matter;
2. Identify the properties of the three states of matter;
3. Describe the states of matter and the kinetic particle theory;
4. Discuss the changes of states using appropriate examples and
activities;
5. Explain the formation of cloud and rain; and
6. Conduct appropriate investigations to explain the changes of states
of matter.
X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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WHAT IS MATTER?
Let us start this topic by learning the meaning of matter first. Do you know that all
things around us are matter? In fact, we can say there is matter everywhere. For
instance, there is matter in your hair, the air you breathe and the water you drink.
There is also matter in the clothes you are wearing. Matter can exist as solid, liquid
or gas. So, how do you define matter?

Thus, even you yourself are matter because you have mass and occupy space. But
bear in mind that you must not confuse matter with weight. This is because mass is
a measure of amount in a given sample. In other words, it can be said that mass is
a measure of quantity of material in a given object. As for weight, it is a measure of
the gravitational pull of an object on earth.

Note that air is another example of matter. We can show that air has mass and
occupies space through the following activities:

(a) Blow up two balloons, A and B, to about the same size. Put a
piece of sticky tape on balloon B. Then, balance the two
balloons. Gently push a pin through the sticky tape and then
pull it out.

(b) Fill a basin with water. Hold a cup upside down. Push it into the
water.

What did you observe? What can you say about air in these two activities? Now
you should be convinced with the fact that air has mass and occupies space, or in
other words, air is also matter.
1.1
Matter can be defined as anything
that has mass and occupies space.
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STATES OF MATTER
As mentioned before, matter normally exists in one of these three physical states
solid, liquid or gas. Can you describe these three states of matter?

Solids are firm and have a definite form. Wood, glass, iron nails, cotton and
paper are all examples of solids.

Liquids, on the other hand, are not rigid. If liquid is poured onto a table, it will
flow all over the surface. Examples of liquids are water, milk and oil.

Lastly, let us talk about gas. Gases can be found everywhere around us.
However, they are not visible or cannot be seen by the naked eye. Can you think
of the examples of gases? Some examples of gases are oxygen, hydrogen,
nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Thus, gases have no fixed shape and spread out to
fill any container.

Based on the above discussion, we can say that everything we know is made of
matter whether it is in solid, liquid or gaseous form. In fact, a single object can be
in three different physical states. One good example is water.

Water can exist as a solid, liquid or gas at different temperatures. At 20qC, water
exists in the form of a solid, which is ice. At 30qC, water is a liquid. At 120qC,
water exists as a gas in the form of steam. Figure 1.1 shows you the three states of
water.

Ice (solid) Water (liquid) Steam (gas)
Figure 1.1: Water in three different physical states

1.2
X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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PROPERTIES OF MATTER IN SOLID,
LIQUID AND GASEOUS STATES
Can you recall the three different states of matter discussed earlier? The three
states are solid, liquid and gas, and they each have different physical properties.
What can we say about physical properties?

Let us study these three states further in the next sections starting with solids.
1.3
Physical properties are characteristics that do not
change the identity and composition of the
substance. The physical properties include colour,
odour, density, melting point, boiling point, and
hardness.
ACTIVITY 1.1
Look around you. What are five examples of solid, liquid and gas?
Name them in the table below.

Examples of Solids, Liquids and Gases
No. Solids No. Liquids No. Gases
1. 1. 1.
2. 2. 2.
3. 3. 3.
4. 4. 4.
5. 5. 5.

TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 5
1.3.1 Solids
As we can see in Figure 1.1 (the water example), solid has a fixed shape. It is hard
and the shape cannot be changed easily. Hence, solids cannot be compressed. It
exhibits a regular arrangement of particles and it is rigid. Many of them have a
definite three-dimensional shape with surfaces at specific angles to each other.
For example, table salt (sodium chloride) at room temperature as well as sugar
have cubic shapes with faces at 90q. Figures 1.2 (a) and (b) show you the shape of
solid salt and sugar.

Figure 1.2(a): Shape of table salt
Source: Burns (1992), p. 22
Figure 1.2(b): Shape of sugar crystals
Source: www.encarta.msn.com/media

Do you know that solids have definite size, mass and weight at a given
temperature? For instance, a piece of iron nail can be of different sizes; two
centimetres long, or five centimetres long. When weighed on a beam balance, the
mass and weight of these two sizes of iron nails are also different. However,
these iron nails can be resized or reshaped under certain conditions and
temperature. Furthermore, solids also have a fixed volume. How do we measure
it? The volume of a solid can be measured using a measuring cylinder as shown
in Figure 1.3.

X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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Figure 1.3: Measuring volume of solid using a measuring cylinder

Based on Figure 1.3, we can see that when a piece of marble is put into a
measuring cylinder containing 22.4 cm
3
of water, the level of the water will rise
to 26.6 cm
3
. The difference between the first water level, before the marble is put
into the cylinder, and the water level after the marble is put into the cylinder, is
the total volume of the marble, that is, 4.2 cm
3
.

Lastly, solids do not flow easily. For instance, when a solid is placed into a
container, it cannot completely fill up the container. Instead, there will be spaces
in between the solid and the container.
1.3.2 Liquids
have specific shapes of their own. Liquids take the shape of the container they
are in. For example, if we pour water into a glass or a container as shown in
Figure 1.4, it will take the shape of that container.

TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 7

Figure 1.4: Water in the glass
Source: Burns (1992), p. 25

Likewise, if we pour apple juice or any other liquid into a bottle or a paper cup, it
will take the shape of that particular container. In conclusion, we can say that no
matter how you change the shape of the container, the liquid will take the shape
of that particular container as shown in Figure 1.5.

## Figure 1.5: Picture of different shapes of containers filled with liquids

Source: Burns (1992), p. 45

Furthermore, just like solids, liquids too have a definite mass and volume. A litre
of liquid will not expand to fill a two-litre container. However, liquids are not as
hard as solids. They cannot be compressed to fill any sizes of containers. A liquid
can flow when it is poured.

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For instance, if we pour water into a glass, we can see the water flowing. When it
rains, we can see droplets of water as shown in Figure 1.6a. When a droplet of
water drops into a water source, it causes a ripple as shown in Figure 1.6b.

Figure 1.6a: Droplets of rain Figure 1.6b: A droplet of water causing
a ripple in the water

1.3.3 Gases
Lastly, let us learn the properties of gases. Gases have definite mass but no
definite shape of their own and volume. They completely fill the containers they
are in. However, gases can flow easily and compressed into different types or
sizes of containers as shown in Figure 1.7.

ACTIVITY 1.2
Mercury is a liquid and is used to measure temperature in
thermometers. Discuss the properties of mercury that make it suitable to
be used in themometers.
TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 9

Hot air balloons Gas canister

Air compressor Gas cylinders
Figure 1.7: Hot air balloons, gas canister, air compressor and gas cylinders

## As a conclusion, we can summarise the different physical properties of solids,

liquids and gases as shown in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1: Comparison of the Physical Properties of Solids, Liquids and Gases
Physical Properties Solids Liquids Gases
Mass Definite Definite Definite
Volume Definite Definite Fill the container
they are in
Shape Definite Take the shape of
the container they
are in
Take the shape of
the container they
are in
Ability to flow Unable to flow Flows Flows easily
X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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STATES OF MATTER AND KINETIC
PARTICLE THEORY
Let us now learn the history of matter. More than 2,000 years ago, a Greek
philosopher called Democritus suggested this hypothesis:

His idea was that if you keep cutting something into smaller and smaller pieces,
you will eventually come to the smallest particles, which are the building blocks
of matter. He used the word amos (which in Greek means cannot be divided)
to describe the smallest particles. This is where the word atom comes from. In

Since then, scientists have done many tests with matter, and the results have
always agreed with Democritus hypothesis. Such a hypothesis that is supported
by many experimental results is called a theory. So the hypothesis that matter is
made up of tiny particles too small to be seen which are in constant motion is
now called the kinetic particle theory of matter.

What does the kinetic particle theory of matter state?

When do we use this theory? The kinetic particle theory can be used to explain
and differentiate the properties of the three states of mattersolids, liquids and
gases as shown in Table 1.2.
All matter, living and non-living, is made of tiny particles too small to be seen.
1.4
TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 11
Table 1.2: Three States of Matter Solids, Liquids and Gases
States of Matter/
Aspect
Solid Liquid Gas
Arrangement of
Particles

Particles are usually
arranged in a regular
pattern; they are
closely packed and
are located at fixed
positions. The closer
the molecules are, the
harder they will be.

Particles are
arranged close
together but not
tightly and orderly
in a fixed pattern.

Particles are arranged
randomly. There is no
orderly pattern.
Forces of
Attraction
between
Particles
There are strong
forces called chemical
bonds holding the
particles in fixed
positions.
There are strong
forces holding the
particles together
but not enough to
hold them in fixed
positions.
There are attractive
forces between the
particles but they are
very weak. These
forces are insufficient
to hold gas particles
together to form any
definite shape or
volume. Thus, the
particles can move
freely to fill the
container. A litre of
gas can expand to fill
a two or more litre
container.
Motion of the
Particles
Since the particles are
in a solid form, they
are arranged and
packed tightly; there
is little motion of the
particles. The only
movements are tiny
vibrations to and
from a fixed position.
The particles vibrate
faster when they are
heated.
Since the particles
are not tightly
packed, they are
randomly
throughout the
liquid. Particles
move faster when
they are heated.
Since the particles are
very far apart, they
move quickly, freely
and randomly in all
directions. Particles
collide with each
other and also with
the walls of the
container, and bounce
off in all directions.
Particles move faster
when they are heated.
Kinetic Energy Low Moderate High
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Do you know that the kinetic particle theory can also be used to explain the
process of diffusion? What is diffusion? Let us examine this situation: if someone
opens a bottle of perfume in front of the classroom, you will soon smell the
perfume in other parts of the room. The fragrance spreads through the air in all
directions. The gradual mixing of substances is called diffusion.

Based on the previous situation, let us explain how perfume diffuses. When the
lid is on, the gas particles remain inside the bottle. When the lid is taken off, the
liquid perfume evaporates easily. Since there are only weak forces between the
particles, they can spread out, moving away from the crowded bottle to places
where there are fewer particles of perfume. Eventually, the particles spread
evenly throughout the air in the room. The process of diffusion is shown in
Figure 1.8.

Figure 1.8: The process of diffusion

Put a Petri dish on a sheet of white paper and half fill it with water.
Let it stand for a while to let the water become perfectly still. Use a
pair of tweezers or a spatula to place a single crystal of potassium
permanganate in the centre of the dish. Then, leave the dish
undisturbed for five minutes. What can you see? Explain what you
have observed in terms of particles.
ACTIVITY 1.3
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CHANGES OF STATE OF MATTER
Now, let us move on to learn about changes of states of matter. We start off by
learning the basic concept, a substance can be changed from one state into
another when it is heated or cooled. The changes in the state of substance can be
explained using the kinetic theory model discussed earlier.

Each change of state involves a physical process and change in energy of the
substance. These physical processes are explained in the following.
1.5.1 Melting
Let us conduct a demonstration where an ice cube is dropped into a cup of hot
water to show how it melts. What will happen? Yes, the ice will melt, which
means that when it happens, the ice has changed its form from solid to liquid.
This physical process is known as melting. Based on the demonstration, can you
define melting? Melting is a process where solid changes to its liquid state when
heated at a certain temperature and pressure.

During the melting process, heat energy is absorbed. Thus, forces and bonds are
broken during this process too.
1.5.2 Freezing
What is freezing? Freezing is a reverse process of melting. You can reverse
melting simply by putting or placing water in a freezer. Water, which is in liquid
form, will change to ice, a solid form. This physical process is known as freezing.

You can use the kinetic theory of matter to explain the changes from liquid to
solid due to cooling. Therefore, freezing is the process where liquid changes to its
solid state when it is cooled at a certain temperature and pressure. Conversely,
during freezing, heat energy is released and not absorbed.
1.5
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1.5.3 Evaporation
The next changing state of matter is evaporation. How do you explain
evaporation? What happens when a small bowl of water is left out overnight?
Yes, the water in the bowl would have dried up the next day. Water, which is in
liquid form, will change to vapour, a gas form. This physical process is known as
evaporation.

Once again, you can use the kinetic theory of matter to explain the changes from
liquid to gas due to heating at room temperature. Evaporation is the process
where atoms or molecules, which are in liquid state, gain sufficient energy to
enter the gaseous state. During evaporation, heat energy is absorbed.
1.5.4 Condensation
Now, we move on to condensation. This is how you can demonstrate it: cover a
cup of hot water with a saucer for a few minutes, then observe what is on the
surface of the saucer when the saucer is removed from the cup. You will notice
that there are drops of water on the surface of the saucer. Why this process
happened? Hot water in vapour form condenses into droplets of water in liquid
form when it is cooled. This defines condensationit is the process where gas or
vapour changes to its liquid state when cooled at certain temperature and
pressure. During condensation, heat energy is released.
1.5.5 Sublimation
For sublimation, we can use a sample of dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) and then
touch it (you have to be very careful with it as dry ice may cause frost bite,
damaging the skin very much in the manner of a burn). We will notice traces of
vapour released from the surface of the dry ice but strangely it does not melt.
After a while, the size of dry ice decreases gradually. Why? Dry ice does not melt
but changes from solid state directly to gaseous state. This physical process is
called sublimation.

TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 15
Sublimation is the process where solid changes to vapour or gas, without going
through the melting process. During sublimation, heat energy is absorbed. Can
you think of other examples? Other examples of substances that undergo
sublimation are iodine and ammonium chloride.

As a conclusion, the five physical processes involved in the change of state are
summarised in Figure 1.9.

Figure 1.9: Changes in states of matter

CLOUD AND RAIN FORMATION
When we look up at the sky, we may see different types of clouds. When the
clouds look dark, it is a sign that it is going to rain. What are these clouds made
up of? How do they form? The link to these questions is water.

How do we link water to clouds? Well, water can evaporate from plants, animals,
puddles, soil and other ground surfaces, and from oceans, lakes, rivers and
streams to form clouds as shown in Figure 1.10.

1.6
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Figure 1.10: Formation of clouds

## The formation of clouds involved condensation and evaporation. Condensation

occurs when water vapour (gas) in the air changes into liquid due to cooling.
These water droplets are formed when water vapour condenses around a
condensation centre a tiny particle of smoke, dust, ash or salt. Visible clouds are
tiny water droplets suspended in the air. Clouds form under certain conditions,
such as when more water vapour evaporates from the earth into the atmosphere
than condenses on the earth, and when there are dusts, smoke or other particles
suspended in the air, water vapour condenses onto these particles in the air.
Clouds float in the air and are moved by the wind. Note that there are different
types of clouds and not all clouds produce rain.

How can you tell that it is going to rain? There are a few signs that tell you that
rain is imminent (Figure 1.11). However, this cannot always be true as clouds can
always be moved by the wind.

TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 17

Sometimes, there is lightning
before rain
Heavy dark clouds Yes ...it is raining!
Figure 1.11: Signs just before raining

What can you say about rain? Rain is liquid water that falls from clouds. Rain
occurs when the water droplets in a cloud get too heavy to stay suspended in the
sky and so fall due to gravity. In a super-cooled atmosphere, water droplets and
ice crystals in a cloud interact to produce more ice crystals. However, these
crystals from the cloud will melt as they fall. Otherwise, hail can happen. But this
rarely occurs. Have you ever encountered one?

ACTIVITY 1.4
You can try out this activity to make rain. Pour some hot water into a
clear plastic jar. Cover the top of the jar with a plastic sheet. Press the
centre of the plastic sheet down so that it forms a funnel shape. Put
some ice-cubes onto the plastic sheet. Observe what happens inside the
tube. Explain how it happened.
X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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PRACTICAL INVESTIGATION IN THE
PRIMARY SCIENCE CURRICULUM
Lastly, let us look at two practical experiments that you can conduct to explain
the changes of states of matter (water). These two experiments are to investigate
the boiling point of water and its evaporation. Just follow these steps and
instructions.

Experiment 1: The Boiling Point of Water

Materials Required:
2. Thermometer
3. Retort stand
4. Wire gauge
5. Bunsen burner
6. Lighter

Procedures:
1. Prepare the apparatus as shown in Figure 1.12.

Figure 1.12: Boiling point of water

1.7
TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 19
2. Take about 100 ml of distilled water. Fill it into the round-bottomed flask.
3. Set up the thermometer as shown in Figure 1.12.
4. Heat the flask and record the temperature for every five minutes until the
water is boiling.
5. Record the temperature when it boils. This is the boiling point of the water
(the temperature would remain a constant at this time).
6. Repeat the same experiment using different liquids (that are safe for this
experiment) with different boiling points.

Experiment 2: Evaporation
Prepare two Petri dishes. Pour about 10 ml (two teaspoons) of water in each of
the dish. Place one dish in the sunlight. If the sun is not shining strongly enough,
place the dish closely to a source of light. Place the other dish in the shade.
Observe each dish every four hours, then overnight. Record what happens to the
water.

(a) Where did the water go?
(b) From which dish did the water disappear faster?
(c) What caused the water to disappear?

The process of water going into the air is evaporation. List some other
examples of evaporation. What happens to the water after it evaporates?

x Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space.
x Matter can be classified as solids, liquids or gases.
x Solids have fixed shape, fixed volume, are hard and cannot be compressed.
x Liquids have no fixed shape but take the shape of the container they are in,
have fixed volume, are not hard and can flow.
X TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER
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x Gases have no fixed shape and volume, and take the shape of the container,
flow easily and can easily be compressed.
x The Kinetic Particle Theory of Matter states that matter is made up of tiny
particles too small to be seen which are in constant motion.
x The Kinetic Particle Theory can be used to explain the properties of solids,
liquids and gases.
x Changes of states can be demonstrated using appropriate examples and
activities such as using ice cube for melting, putting water into freezer for
freezing, and so on.
x Visible clouds are tiny water droplets suspended in the air and are formed
when water vapour condenses around a condensation centre a tiny particle
of smoke, dust, ash or salt.
x Rain occurs when the water droplets in a cloud get too heavy to stay
suspended in the sky and so fall due to gravity.
x Appropriate experiments can be conducted to explain the changes of states of
matter such as boiling and evaporating the water.

Cloud
Condensation
Evaporation
Freezing
Gas
Kinetic particle theory
Liquid
Matter
Melting
Rain
Solid
Sublimation

TOPIC 1 THE PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER W 21

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New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Timberlake, K. C. (2006). An introduction to general, organic, and biological
chemistry (9th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson-Benjamin Cummings.
Sumdahl, S. S., & Sumdahl, S. A. (2003). Introductory chemistry: A foundation
(6th ed.). Boston, NY: Houghton Mifflins Co.