Phase Changes of Matter: Types & Examples

Phase Changes of Matter: Types & Examples
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  • 0:00 Definition Of Phase…
  • 1:00 Types Of Phase Changes
  • 1:40 Examples Of Phase Changes
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

We are surrounded by matter. In this lesson, you will learn about phase changes of matter, and the types of phase changes that occur so you can recognize them in the future.

Definition of Phase Changes of Matter

By definition, matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Matter exists as solids, liquids, gases, and plasma phases or states. A solid is any matter in a form that has a definite shape and volume. This means that no matter where you put a solid, its shape and volume will stay the same. A liquid is any matter that has a definite volume but no definite shape. This means that liquids retain their volume but take the shape of the container that is holding them. A gas is any matter that does not have a fixed shape or volume. Gases take the shape of their container and can expand or contract to change their volume. Plasma is matter that exists in the form of high energy charged particles.

A phase change is a transition of matter from one state to another. Phase changes occur regularly in nature and can be conducted by people. The phase in which matter exists is determined by the pressure and temperature of its surroundings. By manipulating the pressure and temperature, you can change the phase of the matter.

Types of Phase Changes

There are a total of eight phase changes that can occur. Let's look at what happens in each change.

  • Freezing occurs when a liquid changes to a solid.
  • Melting occurs when a solid changes directly to a liquid.
  • Sublimation occurs when a solid changes directly to a gas.
  • Deposition occurs when a gas changes directly to a solid.
  • Condensation is when a gas changes directly to a liquid.
  • Vaporization happens when a liquid changes directly to a gas.
  • Ionization occurs when a gas changes to plasma.
  • Recombination occurs when plasma changes to gas.

This diagram allows you to visualize what happens with each phase change.
A diagram that illustrates phase changes.

Examples of Phase Changes

Some phase changes are more common and easier for us to visualize. For example, you have probably witnessed freezing, melting, and vaporization just by making ice, melting ice, and boiling water. Condensation often occurs on the outside of cold beverage containers. This is when the humid air changes directly to a liquid on the surface of the container.

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