Matter and Its Properties

Matter is defined as everything that has mass and takes up space (or volume). In other words, it’s everything that makes up any object.

As mentioned above, matter is defined as the amount of mass and volume in any given object. It’s what everything is made of. We are even made of matter.

Matter contains two things: mass and volume. Mass, by a reversible definition, is the amount of matter an object contains, which is correlated with how much it weighs (in grams, pounds, etc.) Volume is the amount of space an object takes up (usually measured in mL, cc, or cm^3).

Matter has two types of properties: physical properties and chemical properties. A physical property is one that is present when a substance changes from one state of matter to another, but does NOT change in chemical composition. A chemical change, on the other hand, is the complete opposite: when the chemical composition changes in a substance (or its identity).

Examples of physical properties include: mass, volume, color, density, solubility, odor, hardness, melting point, boiling poit, and particle size.

Examples of chemical changes include: reactions with acids and bases, reactions with other elements or compounds, decomposition into simpler substances, and corrosion.

A chemical reaction is when one or more substances change into one or more new substances. During any chemical reaction, there are two sets of information: the reactants and the products. The reactants are the elements or compounds that exist before the reaction occurs. The products are the new elements or compounds that exist after the reaction occurs.

NOTE: If anything undergoes a chemical change, then its physical properties also change. Also, every element has unique physical and chemical properties, so those can be used to identify element types.

In addition, there are different types of physical and chemical properties. An intensive property is one that is not dependent on the size of the sample of the substance, and can be used to identify the substance in question. An extensive property is one that does depend on the size of the sample of the substance; for example, if you were to find the mass or volume, those are extensive properties because they depend on the size. However, to find density, all you need to do is calculate mass over volume, so that is not considered an extensive property.

The Law of Conservation of Mass

There is one law that applies most importantly to matter and mass (which are directly related to each other). The Law of Conservation of Mass says that mass or matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change from one form to another. An example of this is decomposition; the matter is simply changing form.

The law further proves that the mass of the reactants in a chemical equation is equal to the mass of the products.

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