Properties of matter In Physics

Matter is everything that has a mass, occupies a place in space and becomes energy. Therefore, the properties of matter are those chemical and physical characteristics that compose and describe it .

The properties of matter can be in turn:

  • Extensive properties, depending on the amount of matter present (such as mass and volume), and
  • Intensive properties, which do not depend on the amount of matter (such as hardness and density).

Matter can exist in three fundamental states (four, if plasma is included): liquid, solid, and gas.

Physical properties

Materials such as rubbers and springs change their shape or volume when a force is applied to them, but they can return to their original state.

Physical properties are characteristics of matter that can be observed or measured without changing the chemical nature of the substance . For example:

  • Mass: corresponds to the amount of matter measured in kilograms (unit of mass) by means of a scale. It is an extensive property.
  • Volume: is the space occupied by matter that is measured in cubic meters or liters. It is an extensive property.
  • Divisibility: is the property that implies that matter can be divided into several parts.
  • Compressibility: reduction of the volume of matter by compression. For example: the air in the tires is compressed.
  • Elasticity: corresponds to the return to the original volume of matter after it is no longer compressed. For example: when the air leaves the tires, it returns to its volume in the atmosphere.
  • Inertia: property of matter that indicates resistance to change, that is, it maintains its state of rest or movement unless a force is applied to it.
  • Organoleptic properties: are those characteristics that can be perceived by the senses, such as taste, color, odor, hardness or texture.
  • Boiling point: is the temperature at which a substance boils. It is an intensive property.

Chemical properties

The chemical properties are determined by how the compounds or elements react.

They are characteristics of matter that result from chemical transformations or reactions , therefore, the structure changes. For example:

  • Heat of combustion: is the energy released when a compound is completely burned (combustion).
  • Chemical stability: refers to the ability of a compound to react with water (hydrolysis) or with air (oxidation). For example: an iron bar that is left in the rain or outdoors corrodes.

See also

  • Intensive and extensive properties of matter
  • Law of conservation of matter.

Matter Properties Exercises

Next, we present some practical exercises to know different properties of matter.

  1. Mass

Place different objects on a scale, weigh them, write them down and compare the differences. What is the object with the largest mass?

  1. Impenetrability and volume

Place one of the objects mentioned in exercise 1 inside a bowl of water. When verifying that the water level rises, you will be ahead of the impenetrability characteristic, as well as the increase in the water level corresponds to the volume of the object.

  1. Severability

Take a piece of chalk and hit it with a wooden spoon. The chalk will be chipped, but it will still be chalk.

  1. Combustion

Taking proper precautions, place a sheet of paper in a container (preferably glass) and burn it. The leaf was transformed by reacting with oxygen from the air in the presence of fire.

  1. Elasticity and compressibility

Inflate a rubber balloon and close it. The air inside the balloon is compressed, but the balloon has itself been stretched to contain the air inside it. Open a hole in the balloon. What happens now?

  1. Organoleptic properties

Sell ​​the eyes of two people and ask them to guess the objects you are giving them through the senses of touch (texture), smell (smell) and taste (taste).


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