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33

Good question. Assume we have one cube of ice in a glass of water. The ice displaces some of that water, raising the height of the water by an amount we will call $h$. Archimedes' principle states that the weight of water displaced will equal the upward buoyancy force provided by that water. In this case, $$\text{Weight of water displaced} = ...


32

Play-Doh is mostly flour, salt and water, so it's basically just (unleavened) dough. There are a lot of extra components like colourings, fragrances, preservatives etc, but these are present at low levels and don't have a huge effect on the rheology. The trouble with saying it's basically just dough is that the rheology of dough is fearsomely complicated. ...


28

Here is an explanation that needs no explicit equations. Consider the following diagram, in which part1 and part2 represent the ice. The displaced water volume equals part2 volume and has as much mass as (part1+part2) Now look at what happens when both part1 and part2 melt: their mass does not change, it is (part1+part2) it becomes water. And we just ...


27

Plasma is described as the 4th state of matter, which is what you get if you give so much temperature that the molecules begin to break up and ionize into positively and negatively charged fragments. Another Claim on the title '4th State of matter' is a 'supercritical fluid'. Sometimes people draw phase diagrams with it to show this '4th state of matter'. ...


18

Fire is neither. Fire is a process involving both. Fire is the energetic combination of various substances with oxygen to release light and heat. In a gas fire, such as might be found on a stove or in a heater, a light hydrocarbon such propane is broken down into components of hydrogen and carbon which unite with oxygen from the atmosphere to form water ...


11

In simple terms, there isn't any space in the ice crystal lattice for the extra atoms and there is no way to plug either of the ions (or the whole salt molecule) into the growing pattern. So more and more water joins the frozen mass, leaving a more and more concentrated brine until essentially all the water is frozen and the salt remains behind. As ...


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. ...


11

Yes, a plasma contains positive ions and negative electrons, but the positive ions don't need to be atoms. Actually the negative charges don't even need to be electrons. For example, plasma etching of silcon is done using a sulphur hexafluoride plasma that consists of (mainly) SF$_5^+$ and F$^-$ ions. I'm not sure that the word plasma has a precise ...


8

I mean, they are heavier than air. No. Water is $H_2O$ which has a molecular weight of 18. Nitrogen is $N_2$ which has a molecular weight of 28. Oxygen is $O_2$ which has a molecular weight of 32. Argon is $Ar$ which has an atom weight of 40. So a water molecule has a mass that is less than that of all the significant components of air. But ...


8

@MartinBeckett's already gave an excellent answer: Salt is excluded from ice because there is "...no way to plug the ions... into the growing [ice] pattern." This unusually long answer -- a mini-tutorial really -- is an expansion on his answer. I've added a long background section that uses informal, easily visualized analogies to define a number of related ...


8

Matter is made up from point like fundamental particles, like electrons and quarks, that have zero volume. This puts us in the interesting position where the true volume of all matter is zero, and the only reason that everything doesn't instantly collapse into a point of zero volume is that the pointlike fundamental particles maintain a finite distance from ...


8

Formally, the incompressibility of a fluid is defined by the compressibility, $$ \beta=\frac1\rho\,\frac{\partial\rho}{\partial p} $$ where $\rho$ is the mass density and $p$ the gas pressure. This means that, the compressibility is the measure of how much the density (volume) changes when a pressure is applied. For water at standard pressure, this works ...


7

The noise is either from the AC electricity, which would be a 60Hz buzzing, or from small bubbles forming on the heating element itself. When the electricity stops, both the buzzing and the bubble formation will stop as well. Bubbles create sound due to quickly expanding from a small nucleus. Here's a book I found with a section on noise from bubble ...


7

I'm going to guess the toy you actually have in mind is the stuff sold in the US under the name Silly Putty . Play-Doh is used primarily as a "modeling clay" for sculpture - which means it needs to behave as a "plastic" - it's yield strength needs be low enough to enable it to be worked into a figure, but high enough that reasonable sized figures don't ...


7

It's not a disturbance, the liquid isn't supercooled in this case. It's right about at 0 degrees, though. It isn't the pressure drop directly, because you can give an upper-bound estimate to how much cooling the pressure drop directly does based on the observation that the pressure is not more than a few atmospheres. That means that space the gas in the ...


6

Steam is water in a gas phase, while mist, or fog, are small droplets of water in the condensed phase, but small enough to be kept in the air by thermal Brownian motion. There is a huge difference in their properties. steam at 1 atmospheric pressure is defined to be water at a temperature of 100 degrees celsius or more. It is an invisible gas, and contains ...


6

Good question! The defining difference is that in a gas the atoms are intact, and in fact are typically bonded into molecules, whereas in a plasma at least some of the electrons separate entirely from their atoms. In other words, particles of a plasma are charged, but particles of a gas are mostly uncharged. So technically, a plasma is not a gas and it ...


6

Plasmas are a common part of the world we live in. The definition of plasma allows them to exist within an environment consisting mostly of bound atoms. A variety of human technology creates plasmas. The type I hear plasma researchers reference most is a simple RF Plasma. This is perhaps the most direct way to use electricity to shake off the electrons ...


6

In what ways can energy transform into matter and vice versa? Energy and matter are connected according to special relativity and this has been experimentally demonstrated . It is the famous formula: $E=mc^2$ , where $m$ is the relativistic mass and $c$ the velocity of light. or $E^2=m_0^2c^4 +p^2c^2$ , for a particle with rest mass $m_0$ moving ...


6

I suggest that looking for an explanation for 'fire' may be the wrong approach. Science is a process where we try to explain what we perceive. In doing so, we may have to sacrifice (or at least temporarily suspend) a common perspective. My presumption is that you are probably mostly interested in the visual manifestation of fire - the dancing flames. ...


6

A quick comment on your terminology. The description "non-Newtonian" just means the stress/flow rate graph is not linear i.e. there isn't a single constant viscosity coefficient. The fluid you describe is what we colloid scientists call "dilatant", and it is certainly non-Newtonian. However there are lots of other non-Newtonian fluids such as tomato ketchup ...


6

In the case of liquids and gases, at least, there's no fundamental difference. To see this, take a look at Wikipedia's phase diagram for water. Ignore the dotted lines for the moment, and note that the line between vapour (steam) and liquid stops at a certain point, called the critical point. What this means is that if you go through the following ...


6

Liquids are a state of matter in which the atoms or molecules are held together by chemical bonds (a difference from gases) but the bonds are weak enough for the shape to be variable (a difference from solids). That's why it is not possible to increase or decrease their volume much; the amount of energy from these chemical bonds would rapidly increase ...


6

While the physical properties of a solid vs a liquid are obvious to any grade-schooler, the physics behind it are a little more complex. A substance is traditionally called a solid if it will not noticeably deform from a given starting shape in its steady state (in simple terms, it will not "flow" in the absence of any force other than gravity). A liquid, ...


6

Solid water (ice) is one of the few known solids whose density is lower than that of its liquid form. Yes water is special! (but very much so in its chemical properties too) Due to the crystal structure of the solid phase of water, the molecules arrange themselves in a rigid, ordered fashion and end up being, on average, farther apart from each other (than ...


5

Basically, it has to do with the density of the material as a function of temperature. The density of iron increases as it cools, that is, solid iron is more 'packed tight' than when it is melted. This is understandable, since the kinetic energy of the iron atoms decreases as the temperature drops (ie: the average velocity of the atoms decreases), allowing ...


5

Plasma is said to be a distinct phase because it does not observe the usual description and physical laws that are used to describe the usual 3 states of matter, on several counts: Plasma is not in equilibrium. Often it is far from an equilibrium. Therefore, thermodynamics can't be used to explain. Plasma is made of loose particles, but these particles ...


5

For clarity, there is a common misconception about plasma here. Plasma when being introduced for the first time to someone who doesn't know what it is, it is called "The fourth state of matter" which is an inaccurate description of it. Since this term is used for introducing some one to plasma, it is no big deal. When a material changes from a distinct ...


5

Hypothesis Ideally, the ice and water should reach an equilibrium at zero celsius. But this equilibrium might take a long time to happen, based on the exact setup. Looking at a typical setup of yours, the ice will float at the top of the container and there is water (but no ice) at the bottom. Water is densest at $\sim 4$ degrees celsius, and such water ...


5

I would differ from Xiao because I wouldn't say that a gas and a plasma were the same state of matter, though this is largely terminology. However this doesn't matter because a flame is not a plasma but a gas phase reaction. So it's just a gas. You mention the Sun, but although the Sun is mostly plasma it isn't a flame in any of the common uses of the word. ...



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