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Matter – Free JAMB Tutorial on Chemistry [Well Explained]

This Chemistry Tutorial will focus on MATTER. This topic has been explained to ensure you understand it very well. At the end of the tutorial, you’ll be able to download it for FREE. Please share this page with your friends who may need it.

Matter is a term used in chemistry to describe anything that has mass and occupies space. It is the substance of which physical objects are composed.

In other words, Matter is everything around us that has mass and takes up space. It includes everything you can touch, feel, or see. Your desk, your pencil, the air you breathe, and even you are made up of matter.

Here are some key concepts about matter in chemistry:

Classification of Matter

  • Elements: These are substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances by chemical means. Each element is made up of identical atoms. Examples include hydrogen, oxygen, and gold.
  • Compounds: Compounds are substances formed when two or more different elements chemically combine in fixed ratios. Water (H2O) and table salt (NaCl) are examples of compounds.
  • Mixtures: Mixtures are combinations of two or more substances in which each substance retains its own chemical properties. Mixtures can be homogeneous (uniform throughout, like saltwater) or heterogeneous (not uniform, like a salad).

States of Matter

Matter can exist in different states. There are three main states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.

  • Solid: In solids, particles are closely packed together in a regular pattern. Solids have a definite shape and volume. For example, imagine a piece of chocolate. It has a definite shape and volume. Solids keep their shape and don’t change easily.
  • Liquid: In liquids, particles are still close together but are not in a fixed position. Liquids have a definite volume but take the shape of their container. For example, think of water. It has a definite volume but takes the shape of its container. Liquids flow and can be poured.
  • Gas: In gases, particles are far apart and move freely. Gases have neither a definite shape nor a definite volume. They fill the space around them. For example, picture the air around you.

Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter

  • Physical properties: These characteristics can be observed or measured without changing the substance’s composition. Examples include color, density, and melting point.
  • Chemical properties: These describe the ability of a substance to undergo chemical changes, leading to the formation of new substances. Reactivity with other substances is an example of a chemical property.

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Changes in Matter

Changes in matter refer to the processes or transformations that substances can undergo. There are two main types of changes in matter: physical changes and chemical changes.

  1. Physical Changes:
    • Physical changes involve a change in the physical properties of a substance without changing its chemical composition.
    • The substance remains the same at the molecular level.
    • Examples of physical changes include:
      • Melting: Changing from a solid to a liquid (e.g., ice melting into water).
      • Freezing: Changing from a liquid to a solid (e.g., water freezing into ice).
      • Boiling or Evaporation: Changing from a liquid to a gas (e.g., water boiling into steam).
      • Condensation: Changing from a gas to a liquid (e.g., steam condensing into water droplets).
      • Cutting or Breaking: Breaking a piece of paper into smaller pieces or cutting a piece of fruit.
  2. Chemical Changes:
    • Chemical changes involve a transformation at the molecular level, resulting in the formation of new substances with different chemical properties.
    • The original substances are no longer the same after a chemical change.
    • Examples of chemical changes include:
      • Combustion: Burning of a substance, such as wood or paper, where new substances (ash, water vapor, and carbon dioxide) are formed.
      • Rusting: The reaction of iron with oxygen and water to form rust (iron oxide).
      • Digestion: Breaking down food in the stomach to form new substances that can be absorbed by the body.
      • Baking a Cake: Mixing ingredients and heating them to form a cake with different properties than the original ingredients.

Key Differences:

  • In physical changes, the substance’s identity remains the same, and no new substances are formed.
  • In chemical changes, the identity of the substances changes, and new substances are produced.

Conservation of Mass

The law of conservation of mass is a fundamental principle in chemistry, and it states that the total mass of substances involved in a chemical reaction remains constant before and after the reaction.

In other words, mass is neither created nor destroyed during a chemical reaction; it is conserved.

The law of conservation of mass is often attributed to Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist who lived in the 18th century. Lavoisier is considered the “Father of Modern Chemistry” for his significant contributions to the understanding of chemical reactions and the development of modern chemical nomenclature.

This law is based on the idea that atoms are not created or destroyed in a chemical reaction; they are simply rearranged to form new substances.

Atomic Structure:

  • Atoms are the basic building blocks of matter. They consist of a nucleus (protons and neutrons) surrounded by electrons. The arrangement of electrons in an atom determines its chemical properties.

Periodic Table:

  • The periodic table organizes elements based on their atomic number and chemical properties. Elements in the same column (group) have similar properties.

Understanding these fundamental concepts will provide a solid foundation for exploring the complexities of chemistry and the behavior of matter.

That’s all we will cover here.

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Practice Questions on Matter

1. Question: What is the primary difference between an element and a compound?

  • A. Elements are composed of two or more substances, while compounds consist of only one substance.
  • B. Elements are pure substances, while compounds are mixtures.
  • C. Elements consist of identical atoms, while compounds consist of different atoms.
  • D. Elements cannot undergo chemical changes, while compounds can.

2. Question: In which state of matter do particles have the least amount of kinetic energy?

  • A. Solid
  • B. Liquid
  • C. Gas
  • D. Plasma

3. Question: What type of change is boiling water?

  • A. Chemical change
  • B. Physical change
  • C. Nuclear change
  • D. Irreversible change

4. Question: Which of the following is a chemical property of matter?

  • A. Color
  • B. Density
  • C. Flammability
  • D. Melting point

5. Question: According to the law of conservation of mass, what happens to the mass during a chemical reaction?

  • A. Mass is created
  • B. Mass is destroyed
  • C. Mass remains constant
  • D. Mass increases

6. Question: Which of the following is an example of a heterogeneous mixture?

  • A. Saltwater
  • B. Air
  • C. Brass
  • D. Trail mix

7. Question: What is the smallest unit of an element that retains its chemical properties?

  • A. Atom
  • B. Molecule
  • C. Compound
  • D. Isotope

8. Question: Which state of matter has a definite shape but takes the shape of its container?

  • A. Solid
  • B. Liquid
  • C. Gas
  • D. Plasma

9. Question: What is the general trend in reactivity as you move from left to right across a period in the periodic table?

  • A. Decreases
  • B. Increases
  • C. Remains constant
  • D. Unpredictable

10. Question: Which subatomic particle is responsible for chemical bonding?

  • A. Proton
  • B. Neutron
  • C. Electron
  • D. Nucleus

Answers & Explanations

Make sure you actually try answering these questions yourself.

1. C. Elements are composed of identical atoms, whereas compounds are formed when different elements chemically combine in fixed ratios.

2. A. Solid. In the solid state, particles have the least amount of kinetic energy because they are closely packed in a regular pattern and have minimal movement.

3. B. Physical change. Boiling water is a physical change because it involves a change in the state of water from liquid to gas without altering its chemical composition.

4. C. Flammability is a chemical property as it describes the ability of a substance to undergo combustion or burn, indicating a chemical change.

5. Correct Answer: C. Mass remains constant. The law of conservation of mass states that the total mass of a closed system remains constant before and after a chemical reaction; mass is neither created nor destroyed.

6. Correct Answer: D. Trail mix is a heterogeneous mixture because its components (nuts, seeds, dried fruits) are visibly different and not uniformly distributed.

7. A. An atom is the smallest unit of an element that retains its chemical properties.

8. B. Liquids have a definite volume but take the shape of their container, making them flow and adapt to the container’s form.

9. A. Decreases. Generally, reactivity tends to decrease from left to right across a period in the periodic table.

10. C. Electron. Electrons are involved in chemical bonding, as they are responsible for the interactions between atoms, leading to the formation of molecules and compounds.

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