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149

The premise is wrong. Not all materials exist in exactly three different states; this is just the simplest schema and is applicable for some simple molecular or ionic substances. Let's picture what happens to a substance if you start at low temperature, and add ever more heat. Solid At very low temperatures, there is virtually no thermal motion that ...


101

Energy is needed to convert water to steam. This is called the latent heat of vapourisation and for water it is 2.26MJ/kg. So to boil away 1kg (about a litre) of water at 100ºC the kettle would need to supply 2.26MJ. Assuming the kettle has a power of 1kW this would take 2260 seconds. Given the unexpected interest in this question let me expand a bit on ...


31

The ultimate answer to a "why" physics question is "because". Physics is about observing and measuring nature and then finding mathematical models that fit the measurements and predict new behaviors under different conditions. Because we have observed these four states of matter. we have formulated mathematical theories called thermodynamics and quantum ...


28

There are three phenomena that occur before vigorous boiling of water that produce sound. 1) Air dissolved in water on heating forms small air bubbles at the bottom of the container. These air bubbles get released from the bottom of the container on reaching a sufficient size. The process of release produces a sound of frequency ~ 100Hz. 2) On boiling, ...


23

I have read that true steam is clear (transparent) water vapor. According to this theory, the white "steam" you see is really a small cloud of condensed water vapor droplets, a fine mist in effect. So what you are seeing is not more steam, but more condensation and more mist. The speed with which the steam/vapor/mist rises and disperses may also change.


17

Basically the existence of different states of matter has to do with Inter-molecular forces, Temperature of its surroundings and itself and the Density of the substance. This image below shows you how the transition between each states occur (called Phase transitions). These transitions occur based on the change in temperature of the substance Now if ...


16

I'll give a very qualitative answer / overview. The classification 'first-order phase transition vs. second-order phase transition' is an old one, now replaced by the classification 'first-order phase transition vs. continuous phase transition'. The difference is that the latter includes divergences in 2nd derivatives of $F$ and above - so to answer your ...


13

Your description of critical temperature isn't quite right. If you increase the temperature of a liquid beyond the critical point, the atoms are moving so quickly that persistent structure fails to form and so you have something that behaves a lot like a very dense gas. Similarly, if you increase the pressure of a gas beyond the critical point, it becomes ...


12

This is one of those funny questions where the cart gets put before the horse. Matter doesn't "exist" in any state. It simply does what it does, in the way it does it. Humans, wishing to understand how different types of matter behave chose to create a system of three states. This choice is the key: the reason "matter exists in 3 states" is because we ...


11

Not quite sure what you are asking, but I can explain the difference between the three common states of matter on a qualitative scale: Solid: molecules form bonds with neighboring molecules, very little of these bonds are broken at any given time. Liquid: molecules form bonds with neighboring molecules for most of the time, but there are enough energy for ...


11

Since neither of the answers given so far really answers the question, here's my $0.02: between convection (the flow of water of various temperatures around the kettle), and the fact that the heating element is at the bottom, the water is at various temperatures at various parts of the kettle at any time. Usually, the hottest is at the bottom, if the kettle ...


11

Different people have different definitions of dynamical phase transition. At present, a widely accepted one is by Heyl et al. See their original paper Dynamical Quantum Phase Transitions in the Transverse Field Ising Model. Basically, it means some quantity (e.g., the fidelity) as a function of time is non-analytical at some critical times. See the cusps ...


11

Yes, of course, the freezing point will decrease by the pressure developed, while part of the water freezes. But do not underestimate the pressures! In such an experiment easily some thousand bares may be developed. (Depends on the rigidity of the vessel and the volume of water) Here is a video showing how freezing water cracks a cast iron sphere. ...


10

If the metal pan was cool then you would expect to see water droplets staying in the same place once any original movement had dissipated. You would have a combination of cohesive forces within each water droplet and adhesive forces between the water and metal surfaces. With the metal having a temperature well above the boiling point of water, the water ...


9

Let's define temperature to be a measure the kinetic energy of the atom. A single atom has limited numbers of ways it can store energy. It can translate in X, Y or Z. It can't really rotate (well it does rotate, but it takes so little energy to make it rotate that we can ignore it). It can't vibrate. It does have electronic modes where adding energy can ...


9

Generalities on Conformal Invariance In two dimensions, a lot is known / conjectured about statistical models at criticality. For instance, at $T_c$, the spin configuration that you see will not only be self-similar (what others here have been calling "fractal") but actually fully conformally invariant (in the continum limit); that is, the probability ...


9

It's certainly possible for ice to sink in water under the right conditions. The diagram this section of Wikipedia's ice page will show you the conditions under which the various types of ice can form. Most of the "exotic" ones such as XII will form only at pressures greater than around 200MPa. These high-pressure forms are all denser than water, so they ...


9

Temperature is a measure of average kinetic energy. When you have a kettle of water at 100˚C, some of the water molecules will have more-than-average energy, and some will have less. The more-than-average molecules are the ones that will turn to steam, carrying off their energy and lowering the average (and thus the temperature) for the remaining water. ...


9

As mentioned in the comments, this is an instance of supercooling. When you cool a liquid below its freezing point, the molecules are still moving around quite a lot and any two that stick together are likely to be broken up by a subsequent impact. Liquids freeze better when the molecules have something to latch onto -- either a block of the same ice they ...


9

Boiling is clearly not a surface phenomenon. But vaporising is. Boiling happens at all the points inside the liquid whereas when vaporising only the molecules at the surface escape into the space above. And it is true that a liquid boils when its saturated vapour pressure equals external (room) pressure. But it is not to be confused with vaporising. ...


8

Of course the name implies that time is involved somehow. People talk about dynamical thermal and quantum phase transitions and in one case you will rapidly change temperature, while in the other state defining parameter (say pressure or field etc.). We will consider thermal PT. Now what does it mean rapidly? Let us consider 2-d order phase transition as ...


8

In physics, critical behavior means the behavior in which there are no localized boundaries between phases. More quantitatively, the correlation length diverges (is infinite). For example, at the critical point of water, one sees clouds of vapor at all possible length scales. This is only possible because the relevant laws of physics around this point ...


8

Wikipedia quotes Other substances that expand on freezing are silicon, gallium, germanium, antimony, bismuth, plutonium and also chemical compounds that form spacious crystal lattices with tetrahedral coordination. EDIT:The same paragraph says silicon dioxide also exhibits this property.


8

In vacuum and with only the particles we know about the answer is no. Let's look at the symmetries we know exist in nature: $SU(3)$ colour: confined, only colourless states exist below the QCD phase transition $SU(2)\times U(1)_Y$ electroweak: Higgsed to $U(1)_{EM}$ electromagnetism $U(1)_{EM}$: Here we have opportunity. See below... $U(1)_{B-L}$: Global ...


7

A simple material will not undergo a liquid to solid transition as the temperature is raised. When you see this it means somthing more complicated than a simple phase transition is going on. In the example of egg white, what you are seeing is denaturation of the protein albumin. The heat causes the protein to lose its tertiary structure then form cross ...


7

No, the boundary doesn't suddenly "end" or "fade away", as the liquid-gas boundary fades away near the critical point. Instead, the sudden end indicates that many other things may happen in the region of these extremely high pressures and the diagram doesn't want to discuss those because they're outside the limits of interest of the author of the diagram. ...


7

Neutron degenerate matter can undergo a phase transition to a superfluid state. The process is thought to be analogous to Cooper-pairing, but the coupling interaction due to the long-range nuclear force is of order 1 MeV, so can occur at temperatures below about $10^{9}$ K in neutron star interiors. The neutrons (fermions) form bosonic pairs in an analogous ...


6

The amount of heat added to the system is the integral of the specific heat wrt temperature: $$ Q = \int C(T)dT $$ So in the link you give it's just the area under this graph: Although it's true that the specific heat tends to infinity at the lambda point it does so sufficiently suddenly that the area under the graph remains finite. That means the ...


6

To grasp the relevant physics at a sloppy level, perhaps you simply need a few examples. You know a concept is commonly constructed by the manner you refer to it together with other concepts. Symmetry breaking usually results in ground state degeneracy and long range order. Order parameter field aids you in identifying degenerate sectors with the symmetries ...


6

To try to answer what I think is your underlying question, rather than the specific wording you use... The electro-magnetic forces are only so strong. Let's say you have a box half-full of some molecule. Electro-magnetism keeps the individual atoms together (keeping the electrons bound to the nuclei) and it keeps the molecules themselves together (which, ...



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