At which temperature does the slope first change?

Answer these questions for the Introduction section before you conduct the lab procedure.

In this lab we will be looking for any difference between what happens when you heat a pot of water with different amounts of ice. Given your current understanding of heating ice water, what do you think the difference will be between half of the pot being filled with water and half with ice compared to half of the pot being filled with water and only a quarter with ice? (This is your hypothesis for Procedure I.)

Q2. Given your current understanding of heating water, in Procedure II what do you think the heating curve will look like while the ice is melting and after the ice has melted? (This is your hypothesis for Procedure II.)

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Q3. Explain your observations in terms of energy. Changing states, solid to liquid, requires energy. Can you see that in this experiment? How?

Q4. What affect do you think the mass of the ice has here? (How would the data change if you had more or less ice?)

How did the times compare between the two experiments? Can you think of a good explanation for why the times were different?


Q6. Make a table with the temperature versus time data that you recorded. Graph temperature versus time (this graph is called a heating curve).

Q7. Compare the heating curve while the pot was being heated with the curve after the heat was turned off. How are they different? Are there any similarities?





  • Kinetic Theory and States of Matter
  • Kinetic Theory

    This section will be introducing you to the Kinetic Theory of Matter, or simply Kinetic Theory. The Kinetic Theory describes how the different phases of matter behave and respond to changes in temperature and pressure. The Kinetic Theory assumes that all matter is made up of small particles. Whether you think of these particles as atoms, molecules and/or ions does not matter to this theory. In Kinetic Theory the particles are in constant movement, even if that movement is only vibration (back and forth) in a solid. Since you may recall that kinetic energy is energy of motion, that is how this theory got it’s name.

    Some of the main assumptions of Kinetic Theory are:

  1. All matter is composed of small particles. These particles are so small compared to the distances (empty space) between them that their size can essentially be ignored.

    2. All particles are in constant motion.

    • This motion is equivalent to temperature. At higher temperatures, particles will have more kinetic energy. This means that the particles will move or vibrate faster as temperature increases.
      • This does not mean that all the particles are moving at the same speed, it means that the average speed of the particles is faster at higher temperatures.
    • When particles collide with the sides of the container it is felt as pressure. For example, when you blow up a balloon, you feel pressure on the outside of the balloon from the gas particles inside the balloon colliding with the balloon’s walls.
  1. All collisions between particles are elastic. This means energy is not lost during a collision and the total kinetic energy of the particles after a collision is the same as it was before the collision.

The Kinetic Theory does a good job explaining and helping understand many things you see around you. It is not, however 100% accurate. In the real world the size of particles cannot be completely ignored, and all collisions are not completely elastic, but this theory is still a good way to approach an understanding of the states (phases) of matter.

Keep in mind that in the Kinetic Theory:

  • Temperature is the average kinetic energy of all the particles in a substance.
    • The freezing/melting point is the temperature at which a phase change occurs. At this temperature both liquid and solid phases exist.
      • Adding heat energy at this temperature will break bonds between particles and the solid will melt.
      • Taking away heat energy at this temperature will form bonds between particles and freeze a liquid.
      • Some solids such as dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) can undergo sublimation,  they change phase directly from a solid to a gas.
    • The boiling point is the temperature at which a phase change occurs. At the boiling point liquid is changed to a gas throughout the liquid.
      • Evaporation at the surface of a liquid can occur at any temperature because some of the particles in the liquid are moving fast enough to overcome their attraction to other particles in the liquid.
    • Adding energy (as heat) increases the energy of particles in a substance. Either the temperature increases or a phase change occurs.
    • When you add heat to a solid substance at it’s melting point the temperature does not change until all of the solid is melted. The heat energy is used to break some of the bonds between particles in the solid and change  it to a liquid.
    • When you add heat to a liquid substance at its boiling point the temperature does not change until all of the liquid is gas. The heat energy is used to break some of the bonds between particles in the liquid and change it to a gas.


Heating Curves

Here is a sample graph of heating water.

Use the above information and any other resources you may need to answer the following questions:

Q8. At the start of this graph (starting at time = 0 min) the line has a positive slope. What does this positive slope mean in terms of temperature change?

Q9. Answer all parts of this question.

  1. At which temperature does the slope first change?
  2. Describe the new slope in terms of temperature change.
  3. What occurs at this temperature?
  4. Describe what the added heat energy is doing to the molecules of water in this region of the graph.

Q10. At around 2 minutes the slope of the graph changes again. What does this tell you about the status of the change of state? What does positive slope mean in terms of temperature change?

Q11. This question is about the graph between 4 and 8 minutes. Answer all parts of this question.

  1. Describe the new slope in terms of temperature change.
  2. What occurs at this temperature?
  3. Describe what the added heat energy is doing to the molecules of water in this region of the graph.

Q12. At around 8 minutes the slope of the graph changes again. What does this tell you about the status of the change of state? What does positive slope mean in terms of temperature change?

States (or Phases) of Matter

There are FOUR states of matter that you need to be familiar with. First, a quick introduction to each:


  • There is an attractive force between particles holding them together closely.
  • Although the particles are constantly vibrating, it is not easy for them to slip past each other.
  • Since the particles are vibrating in place and cannot slip past each other easily, solids have a definite shape.


  • There is an attractive force between particles that keeps them in contact with each other.
  • The particles have enough kinetic energy to partially overcome the attraction to surrounding particles and slip past them.
  • Because particles can slip past each other, liquids do not have a definite shape, assumes the shape of its container, and can be poured.


  • Gas particles are not in contact with each other.
  • Particles have enough kinetic energy to completely overcome their attraction to other particles and move randomly in straight lines.
  • When a particle strikes another particle or container wall, it bounces off and continues to move.
  • Gas particles move independent of each other and will fill the container they are placed in.



  • Made of positively and negatively charged particles.
  • Most matter in the known universe is in the plasma state. It is found in lightning bolts, stars, neon and fluorescent light tubes and auroras.
  • Plasma is created at very high temperatures. At these temperatures, particles are moving at high speeds. When particles collide at these high speeds, electrons are stripped from their atoms. This creates charged particles.
  • Like a gas, plasma has no definite shape or volume.


Q13. Which states of matter are difficult to compress? Explain why they are more difficult to compress in terms of the particles in these states of matter.

Q14. Which states of matter are easier to compress? Explain why they are easier to compress in terms of the particles in these states of matter.

Q15. Answer each of the following parts to this question.

  1. In which state(s) of matter are the particles closely packed together and unable to slip past one another?
  2. In which state(s) of matter have the particles overcome the attractive forces between them and fill whatever volume they are allowed to?
  3. In which state(s) of matter are the particles in contact with each other?
  4. In which state(s) of matter has a definite volume but no definite shape?

Do some additional research to answer the following questions:

Q16. Describe in detail what happens when you add heat to a solid at its melting point. Be sure to discuss what happens to the added heat energy.

Q17. Describe in detail what happens when you add heat to a liquid at its boiling point. Be sure to discuss what happens to the added heat energy.

Q18. On a hot summer’s day you notice that after a brief shower the puddles of rainwater get smaller and eventually disappear. Describe the process that is occurring. In your description be sure to mention the particles (water molecules in this case) of water in the puddles and where they are going. What is the name of this process?

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