Aggregate states of substances

Objective:

  • To explain the aggregate states of substances
  • To describe the effect of temperature on particles of matter
  • To describe the structure of particles of matter in the three states

This virtual lab is designed for use in science lessons on the following topic:

  • Grade 5. Chapter I. “How do particles interact in different conditions of matter?”

Virtual experiment 

The virtual simulation allows students to visualize the aggregate states of a formation. By heating or cooling particles, their passage through the solid, liquid, and gas phases can be controlled.

The figure below shows the functions each button performs.

Aggregate states of substances
gasliquidsolid
volumekept
formkept
molecular arrangementmolecules are located at some distance from each other
gravitational attraction between moleculesthe gravitational attraction between molecules is very strong

Workflow:

Step 1. In the virtual simulation, there are two different sections: states, cases, phase changes. Select the “states”-cases section. In the experiment you will work on this section.

Step 2. In the workspace you are provided with:

  • A container that contains the particles;
  • Thermometer: shows the temperature in units of Kelvin and Celsius;
  • Control buttons: heating and cooling;
  • Panel with particles: Neon (atom), argon (atom), oxygen (molecule), water (molecule);
  • Panel with aggregate states: solid, liquid, gaseous.

Step 3. For convenience, change the unit of measurement of the thermometer from Kelvin to Celsius.

Step 4. Click the Solid button to see the solid state of neon. The temperature is -259℃ and the molecules are stationary.

Step 5. Click the “Liquid” button to see the liquid state of neon. The temperature is -246℃, the molecules start to move.

Step 6. Press the “Gas” button to see the gaseous state of neon. The temperature is -217℃, the molecules are moving randomly.

Step 7. Try to cool the container. You will see the neon change to a liquid state and then to a solid state.

Step 8. Heat the container. As the temperature increases, the speed of the particles will increase and the neon will go from a solid state to a liquid state and then to a gaseous state.

Step 9. Select “Water Molecule” from the substances panel. Click the “Solid” button. The temperature is -127℃, and the molecules are stationary. Note: water solidifies at temperatures below 0℃.

Step 10. Click the “Liquid” button to see the liquid state of water. The temperature is 13℃, the molecules start to move.

Step 11. Click the “Gas” button to see the gaseous state of water. The temperature is 156℃, the molecules are moving randomly at high speed. Note: water boils at 100℃, and its molecules move to the gaseous state.

Step 12. Cool and heat the container while observing the changing state of the water molecules.

Step 13. Repeat the above processes for the argon atom.

Step 14. Repeat the above processes for an oxygen molecule.

Conclusion

In this virtual experiment, students studied the aggregate states of atoms and molecules. It was observed that the arrangement of particles is different in each state. It was seen that temperature is the main factor that determines the aggregate state of matter.