The Chemist's tools 9.1.5 - The states of matter


Students should:

  • Know the available evidence for the particulate nature of matter
  • Be aware that structure arises due to the forces acting between particles
  • Know that the difference between solids, liquids and gases is due to the distance and forces between the particles


Matter: states and properties of matter.

Particle/kinetic theory, diffusion.

Pure and impure substances. Types of mixtures (solutions, oils, alloys, emulsions)

Separation techniques, including filtration, distillation [including crude oil - myp10], chromatography.


The logical argument of the Greek philosophers to John Dalton. The Greek philosophers said that matter was either continuous or particulate. Discuss. What consequences would each theory have on the matter that we experience in the big wide world.

Evidence for the particulate nature of matter.


Potassium manganate(VII) diffusion

Smoke cell: Brownian motion

Diffusion of HCl and NH3


Discussion on the particulate nature of matter

Animation and discussion: Korean Kemistry

Macroscopic (bulk) properties and microscopic properties

Shape, volume, forces, distance between particles, motion.

microscopic properties forces distance between
solid strong close together vibration
liquid weak close together vibration, rotation and
limited translation
gas none far apart vibration, rotation
and translation

Student activity

The students observe the demonstrations set out around the room and could be asked to comment on the effects seen

Write up of demonstrations with explanations for what is seen.

Teacher's notes

Brown first postulated that the motion of the pollen grains was because they are alive.

In "Korean chemistry" get the students to decode the Korean symbols.


Beaker of water

Worksheet - kinetic theory

Potassium manganate(VII) diffusion

Smoke cell: Brownian motion

Diffusion of HCl and NH3

Next Page

IsisSoft 2014