Matter undergoes various changes in its properties. There are mainly physical and chemical changes. Let us study the physical change examples that occur around us in detail in this post.
Physical changes refer to the change in physical properties of matters such as shape, size, color, etc. It does not produce any new substances. The original nature remains the same even though it has undergone physical changes.
- Reversible physical changes
- Irreversible physical changes
Matter can only undergo these two changes.
Characteristics of physical change
During the physical change, some of the characteristics of the matter change. They are listed below.
- The state of the matter may alter during the physical change.
- Some physical change involves the change in the color of the matter.
- Certain physical changes alter the density of the matter.
- The reflecting ability of a certain crystal may get changed when it suppose to undergo change.
- When a liquid undergoes a physical change, the solubility of the liquid may also be changed.
- Physical change is applicable to the temperature of the matter. The matter may gain or lose the temperature, it depends on the nature of application.
- When the transition between the state of the matter, there may be gain or loss in the mass of the matter.
- Some physical change involves changing the shape and texture of the body.
- Certain type of fluid undergoes a physical change which also changes the viscosity of the fluid.
- Magnetic properties may also be altered with the physical change.
- The plasticity of the materials involves physical change.
- In some physical changes, the volume of the substance may also change.
- Many compounds exhibit crystalline properties. Some substances changes into the crystal due to change in the physical properties.
Physical Change examples
- Melting and freezing
- Boiling of water
- Chopping vegetables
- Sanding woods
- Cracking egg
- Crushing a plastic bottle
- Breaking glass
- Color fading of plastic chair
- Folding paper
- Sharpening of knife
- Bending wire
- Tying a knot to the rope
- Deconstructing the delivery box
- Food dying
- Pressing and folding clothes
- Making dough
- Thawing meat
- Mixing salt and sand
- Sharpening a pencil
- Filling a bowl with candies
- Setting gelatin in the fridge
- Shoe polishing
- Dissolving sugar in beverages
- Mixing of two immiscible liquids
- Weaving yarn
- Rock erosion
- Sublimation of dry ice
- Vaporization of liquid nitrogen
- Melting solid sulfur to liquid sulfur
These are very commonly observed physical changes. Let us study these in detail.
Melting and freezing
Melting of ice and freezing of water is a reversible process. The water is basically in liquid form, which freezes like ice below 4° and above the ice melts into the water again. Only the state of the matter changes, and the chemical composition remains the same.
Boiling of water
The boiling of water involves the change in the temperature. When you keep the water to boil, there will be only a change in temperature.
To cook, a vegetable is necessary. We often chop the vegetables so that they can cook neatly. When you chop the vegetable into several pieces, does it changes its original nature?
If you think no, then you are absolutely right. The vegetable only broke into many pieces, but its nutrients will never change.
Sanding is a process that makes the wood smoother. The defects like cutter marks, burns, scratches are removed from the surface by sanding. This makes the change in the appearance of the wood.
When the egg was cracked, the chicken came out of the white shell. The shell broke into two or three parts which is a better example of physical change.
Crushing a plastic bottle
Plastic bottles are crushed; they become shapeless. We can not judge the shape of the bottles. It only changes its shape, not the internal properties of the components of the substances used in the bottle.
When the glass is broken into pieces, the properties of glass doesn’t alter. Every piece of glass behave its original crystal properties. The pieces can not be stick back to make the proper glass. It is an irreversible physical change.
Color fading of plastic chair
After some time, the plastic chair started fading its color. The exposure to heavy sunlight or rain cause the chair to fade the color . There will be only the change in the color which is a change in the physical properties. The faded color never gets back to the chair on its own.
In childhood, we all made paper boats and rockets. These are very good examples of physical change. We fold the paper to make the paper boat; this makes the paper get the shape of the boat. This can unfold anytime. But there will be a crushed line over the paper. This does not alter the real property.
Sharpening of knife
The sharpening of a knife is most common. The cutting edge of the knife gets sharpened. It became sharper; it is the only physical property of the knife. After some time, the knife may become a little less sharp; then we again sharpen it.
Bending the wire
While making any circuit or any electronic device, we bend the wire accordingly. This changes the shape of the wire. The substance used in making wire does not change its composition, or it has never undergone any reaction to produce new components.
Tying a knot to the rope
Tying knot is another good example of physical change as it does not change the original nature of the materials used in the rope. It is an example of reversible physical change because the knot can be opened anytime.
Deconstructing the delivery box
When the product is delivered, we unbox the product by deconstructing the delivery box; this can be constructed as a box. It is a reversible physical change.
Food dying involves adding edible color to food products. It is observed in the icing of a cake. We can add various colors to the icing cream. There will be a change in color. Neither the taste nor the smell changes, not even the new food are produced.
Pressing and folding clothes
To look nice, we press our clothes and fold them to keep them neatly. This is a very common household example for reversible physical changes. After some time, the cloth again has wrinkles and need to press again.
Making the dough is another irreversible physical change that happens around us. The mixing of flour and water makes the dough. It only related changes in the physical appearance of the flour—the composition of neither flour nor the water changes.
Preserving the meat using a bag of leak-proof is submerged in the cold water. The water needs to change every 30 minutes. This process is called thawing. Hence the temperature of meat changes from room temperature to cold temperature.
Mixing salt and sand
A mixture of sand and salt does not make any difference. Salt and sand to do not mix with each other to form a new product. The mixture does not alter the chemical composition of both compounds. The salt and sand remains as the mixture.
Sharpening a pencil
The sharpening of a pencil is an irreversible example of physical change. The length of the pencil become shorter with the sharpening. Since length is the physical property of the matter, this change is referred to as the physical change.
Filling a bowl with candies
Candies are the most favorite for the children. When the varieties of candies are filled in a bowl, The only thing that gets changed is the empty bowl is filled with candies—the position of the candies changes.
Setting gelatin in the fridge
Jelly is one kind of example of physical change. The mixture of water, sugar, and gelatin is kept 2-3 hours inside the fridge to become a gel. The liquid state changes to a semi-solid state to become jelly.
When the shoe is polished, the shoe becomes bright, i.e., the physical appearance of the shoe changes.
Dissolving sugar in beverages
Adding extra sugar to the beverages that you drink makes the beverages sweeter than before. It does not affect any other original nature of the beverages.
Mixing of two immiscible liquids
The immiscible liquid like water and oil is mixed; they form a separate layer of the two liquids. They do not dissolve in each other. Only oil floats on water.
Mixing water, sugar, and lemon juice is the lemonade. This mixture has the taste of lemon as well as sugar. They do undergo a change in the physical properties as the sugar dissolves in water and gives a sweet taste, and the lemon also exhibits its taste.
A sweater or a blanket is made when the yarn is to be weaved. The length yarn gets a proper shape by sewing or weaving.
The long hair is cut into short. The hair grew gradually with time. The length of the hair becomes less when it is cut. This is referred to as the physical change in the hair.
When the rock and its sediments are supposed to move to another place by the water, wind, ice, or due to gravity, erosion takes place. This effect makes the rock into many small pieces or changes the shape and position of the rock. This happens only due to the natural forces exerted on the rock.
Sublimation of dry ice
Frozen carbon dioxide is called dry ice. Sublimation involves the solid day ice converting into vapor directly. The transition of solid to gaseous phase of dry ice takes place at -78.5°C.
Vaporization of liquid nitrogen
When the liquid nitrogen is vaporized, it expands its volume by 695 times the original volume. This does not cause any change in the chemical composition.
Melting solid sulfur to liquid sulfur
Another interesting example of the physical change is the melting of solid sulfur. As the sulfur melts, it changes its state to a liquid state; along with this, the color also changes. After the transition chemical property remain. Many nonmetals exhibit this kind of change.
These are very few examples of physical change. Change in the physical properties can be observed everywhere in daily life.
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I am Keerthi K Murthy, I have completed post graduation in Physics, with the specialization in the field of solid state physics. I have always consider physics as a fundamental subject which is connected to our daily life. Being a science student I enjoy exploring new things in physics. As a writer my goal is to reach the readers with the simplified manner through my articles.