Sei sulla pagina 1di 1

WHAT IS MATTER AND WHAT IS IT COMPRISED OF?

Matter is classified as anything that has some mass and occupies some amount of space. However, matter is a very vast term covering many things in chemistry and one way of explaining matter is to divide it into two groups, mixtures and pure substances. A mixture is a substance that is made up of parts which keep their individual properties. Mixtures, unlike pure substances are not chemically combined, but are physically done so. Thus, it can be said that they can be easily separated physically through the use of differing techniques depending on the form of mixtures used, such as solids, liquids and gases. These techniques include filtration, decanting and sieving. Mixtures consist of pure substances such as elements, compounds or a combination of both. Mixtures can either be homogeneous, which means that the parts in the mixture are in an even or equally divided ratio, or heterogeneous, which means that the parts can be divided in an uneven ratio. The properties of the mixture or what the mixture is made of depend on the composition of the mixture, such as whether it is homogeneous or heterogeneous and to what extent. For example, in a heterogeneous liquid mixture such as a fruit drink, the amount or proportion of water used will change the composition of the drink which in turn will change the properties of it, making it more or less diluted, concentrated, sweeter, and saltier and so on and so forth. The other group of matter is the pure substances. A Pure substance unlike a mixture always has a definite, constant composition and is always chemically combined, which makes it impossible to be physically separated, only chemically. Pure substances can also be divided into elements and compounds. Elements are the building blocks of pure substances and cannot be broken down further than they are. Elements are made up of only one type of atom and every element has its individual unique properties which makes it useful for industrial use in different situations. Elements can be metals, non-metals or semi-metals. Examples of metals include magnesium, calcium and sodium; non-metals include hydrogen, helium, argon; and neon while three semi-metals on the periodic table which share properties of both metals and non-metals are boron, silicon and germanium. The other pure substances are compounds which are substances made from two or more elements chemically bonded together. Compounds can be broken down into their individual elements using chemical processes and also have their unique properties. Compounds can be either ionic or molecular such as being acids, bases or polyatomic ions. Examples of acidic compounds include hydrochloric acid, which is found in our stomach; and nitric acid, which is used in fertilisers as well as illegally to make bombs and other explosives. Bases include barium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide.