Solids, Liquids, and Gases at Home
Melting Points, Boiling Points, Is Sugar a Solid or a Liquid?, Mixtures of States
All the materials around you can be described as solids, liquids, or gases.
Different materials melt at different temperatures. The chart shows the melting points of some materials you know. You might find some of these materials in your kitchen.
The temperature in a room is usually around 65°F (18°C). A material with a melting point lower than this will be a liquid. Olive oil and water are liquids at room temperature.
Different materials also boil at different temperatures. Liquids such as milk and fruit juice are mostly water. This means they should boil at about the same temperature as water does. So they boil at around 212°F (100°C).
Heating butter makes it melt. It is turned into a liquid. Heating an egg makes it turn from a liquid to a solid. This happens because the heat is changing the chemicals that the egg is made from. It is not the same as a change of state.
Is Sugar a Solid or a Liquid?
Solids have fixed shapes. Liquids flow and take the shape of the container you put them into. The surface of a liquid is flat. Sugar has some of the properties of a liquid. You can pour it from one container into another. It will take the shape of the container you put it in.
Sugar also has some of the properties of a solid. You can make a pile of sugar. But it does not end up with a flat surface unless you smooth it out.
Look closely at the sugar. You can see that it is made of tiny crystals. The crystals are solid. Solid materials sometimes act like liquids if the pieces are very small. Other solid materials that can act like liquids are salt and sand.
Mixtures of States
Many things around you are combinations of materials in different states.
Some hairspray comes in a spray can. Hairspray is a mixture of tiny drops of liquid and a gas. The liquid is a chemical that keeps your hair in place. The gas helps spray the drops of liquid over your hair. A mixture with drops of liquid in a gas is called an aerosol.
Clouds are aerosols because they are tiny drops of liquid (water) mixed with a gas (the air). Fogs and mists are also aerosols. They are just clouds that reach the ground!
Some foods are also mixtures. Milk is a mixture of water and droplets of liquid fat. Mixtures of two liquids are called emulsions. Whipped cream is a foam of air bubbles in a liquid.
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