What is Physical Change? Facts you didn’t know
There are two types of change in matter. Physical change is a type of change in matter, while chemical change is the other type of change. As the name implies, the physical change affects only the physical appearance of a substance, while there is a chemical change which affects the chemical composition of a substance.
Generally, when mixtures or chemical substances undergo a process, the new form (shape) these chemicals or objects take is what is referred to as physical change. Physical change can be said to have occurred when the appearance of a substance is changed but the chemical components of a composition are still intact.
While the physical change of a substance is reversible, the chemical change of composition is irreversible, that means it cannot be undone. Physical changes which are reversible include; heating to melt and cooling. Other forms of physical change include shredding, cutting, grinding and mixing.
Physical changes are also changes that occur when objects go through a process and do not affect or change their chemical compositions. Take, for example, the bringing together of different food items to make them into a pot of soup. The items are ground, some shredded, while others are merely torn into pieces. The appearance and mixture of all those food items successfully change just the appearance of the mixture.
But the composition, which is the mixture of different chemicals (food items) does not change. Another good example of physical change is the process of tempering a steel material into the shape of a knife. The chemical composition or component (steel) is finely heated, which hardens the steel and its sharp ability. The examples of physical change include change of durability, the transition to gas, melting, etc.
Types of Physical Change
In considering the form a combination takes when a physical change occurs, there are different categories or forms these combinations can take, they are;
Mixtures: When we bring two substances together that are not soluble in each other, the result we get to see is an example of physical change. An example of this kind is bringing water and oil as components. One can pour oil into the water and have these components separate when they are allowed to settle. Another example is a combination of sand and water.
If mixed, the sand can be separated by being sifted or by just pouring water through the sand.
Solutions: In the case of solutions, when there is a combination of chemicals and it doesn’t appear that either a gas production, a colour change or a temperature change has occurred, then it means that a physical change has occurred.
On the other hand, if any of these changes (gas production, temperature change or even colour change) take place, then it means a chemical change has occurred in the solution.
Crystallization: This process is also that of a physical change. When a solid happens to be crystallized, it does not produce new components or chemicals. Rather, it takes a more solidified and refined shape. For example, graphite can be crystallized into a diamond, which makes it a physical change.
Magnetism: Bringing a magnet and another component that can be stuck to the magnet is an example of a physical change. The magnet if put together with an iron will be magnetized. This way, there is no chemical reaction.
Phase Change: If the temperature and pressure of a combination of chemical composition can be changed without a change in the components, it means there is a physical change that has occurred. Because the composition of both chemicals is very much intact.
Alloys: In physical change as a type of change in matter, the mixture of materials which is said to be irreversible is an example of physical change. Just exactly what makes every other kind a physical change, when alloying is done, the chemicals or composition remain intact, not affecting the temperature of the composition or colour, therefore, making it a physical change.
In conclusion, if after any of these processes is used for chemicals or the combination of any composition and the components still maintain their original compositions, it means that a physical change has occurred.
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