Chatter about Matter

Today we explored the changes that occur between the different forms, or states of matter. Matter can transition between states by adding or removing heat (energy).  Most of us are familiar with the liquid, solid, and gas states of matter but there are others that we are less familiar with, like plasma.  Plasma is matter that makes up the stars of our universe and can be found in lightning, neon signs and plasma TVs.  The students enjoyed investigating with our plasma sphere, which generates thin filaments of plasma that dance around inside the globe.

We also investigated the changes that occur when matter transitions from one state to another.   We discussed how liquid changes to a gas in a process called vaporization (or evaporation), and how changes between solids and liquids are referred to as melting and freezing, but some of the change terms were new, such as deposition (gas to solid).  Through demonstrations with dry ice (the solid state of carbon dioxide), the students were able to observe one particularly exciting transition in action: sublimation (solid to gas). Students were also able to visualize the concept that a gas (carbon dioxide) has the ability to take the shape of its container.  Adding dry ice to water caused it to sublimate rapidly and to release clouds of white vapor (carbon dioxide gas) that quickly sunk and dissipated. 

Additional Information:

Check out this video on how to make dry ice bubbles!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76CNkxizQuc

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