Why is it important for scientists to know the properties of matter?

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It's important for scientists to know the properties of matter because all things are made up of matter. Each type of matter has different physical characteristics and scientists need to know and understand these characteristics to make calculations. For example, if a scientist would like to know the density of a certain type of matter, they would need to know the mass and the volume of that matter.

The main physical characteristics of matter are mass, volume, weight, density, odor, and color. These are the characteristics that help us to see matter, feel matter, and taste matter.

The main phases of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Most matter is able to be all of these phases depending on their physical characteristics.

More importantly, scientists work with many different types of matter. It is important for them to know and understand the correct ways to handle and store types of matter. They also need to know if any types of matter will have a certain chemical reaction when mixed with other types of matter.

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A knowledge of properties of matter is important not only to scientists but engineers as well (and anybody who is working with matter). The properties on interest, typically, include melting point, boiling point, density, mass, volume, shape, electrical conductivity, heat conductivity, reactivity with other substances (including water, acids, bases, etc.). All applications of matter are dependent on their properties. Here are a few examples:

  • Storage and handling of matter requires a knowledge of its properties. Some materials can be stored at room temperature, while cannot be.
  • Cleanup and disposal of any accidental spill also requires a knowledge of its properties, such as reactivity  (esp. with water)
  • Any laboratory experimentation with the matter requires a knowledge of chemical reactivity and physical properties.
  • Knowledge of properties like malleability and ductility are needed when trying to make something out of a particular material. For example, gold can be used to make jewelry, copper can be used for making wires, etc.

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Why is it important for scientists to study the macroscopic properties of matter?

Macroscopic and microscopic properties of matter are related to each other. Macroscopic properties arise from microscopic properties. A property is microscopic if it deals with structure at the atomic level. An example of a microscopic property is the way sugar molecules interact with each other—the intermolecular forces of attraction present between molecules. A related macroscopic property is viscosity. Viscosity is a liquid's resistance to flowing. Honey is viscous because of how sugar molecules interact with each other. The main difference here is that we can easily observe macroscopic properties. 

Macroscopic properties are properties that arise from a collection of molecules and are the type of properties that we can actually observe.

It is important to study these properties because they are related to daily life. Viscosity is a far more significant property than intermolecular forces when cooking. In the same way, the volume and density of gases is something that needs to be understood in order to make balloons, but these macroscopic properties result from microscopic movement of gaseous atoms and molecules.

In brief, then, macroscopic properties are important because these are the properties humans actually apply to their daily lives. As a result, macroscopic properties are characterized because these are the ones that have immediate effects and applications to human life. It is just as important, however, to study microscopic properties, as microscopic properties are what give rise to macroscopic properties. Diseases are cured at the microscopic level. For instance, creating a drug for a protein necessitates the analysis of the protein structure and the atomic interaction between the drug and the target.

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