Properties of Matter

The different forms of matter have physical properties and chemical properties that are characteristic of individual substances. Physical

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properties of a substance include color, odor, hardness, density, and the ability to conduct electricity and heat. We distinguish different types of matter by the differences in such physical properties. As an example, the formation of ice is a physical phase change, freezing of water. Each substance has unique phase change properties, such as the temperatures, at which freezing or boiling of the substance occurs, known as the "freezing point" and "boiling point."

Chemical properties describe the ability of a substance to change from one kind of substance into a new and different brand-new substance. The formation of iron oxide (rust) is a chemical change. The more properties you can identify in a gas, liquid, or solid, the better you know the nature of that substance.

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