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ZingPath: Properties of Matter

Physical Properties

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Properties of Matter

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Lesson Focus

Physical Properties


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You will distinguish between a characteristic physical property and non-characteristic physical properties by identifying unknown substances.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Identify that mass, volume, density, and electrical conductivity are physical properties of matter.
  • Explain why physical properties such as density, melting point, boiling point, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and solubility can be used to describe a substance.
  • Explain that characteristic properties, such as density, melting point, boiling point, thermal conductivity, solubility, and electrical conductivity, can be used to identify a substance.
  • Explain how to find the mass, volume, electrical conductivity, and density of a substance.
  • Use the equation Density = mass/volume to solve for an unknown variable.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Chemistry is the study of the composition and changes of matter, and matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Living and nonliving things are made of matter. Therefore, chemistry affects all aspects of life and natural events.

Matter that has a uniform and unchanging composition is called a substance. Substances can be described by their physical properties. A physical property is a quality or condition of a substance that can be observed or measured without changing the substance's composition. Because substances have a uniform and unchanging composition, they have consistent physical properties. Boiling point, density, electrical conductivity, mass, melting point, solubility, thermal conductivity, and volume are common physical properties.

Physical properties can be described further as being either characteristic or non-characteristic. Characteristic physical properties are not dependent on the amount of the substance present and can often be used to identify a substance. Characteristic physical properties may include boiling point, density, electrical conductivity, melting point, solubility, and thermal conductivity. Non-characteristic physical properties are dependent on the amount of the substance present, and may include color, mass, shape, volume.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Learners should be familiar with matter, substances, density, mass, volume, and electrical conductivity.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary boiling point, characteristic properties, color