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  • 1. Topic 1Chemical vs. PhysicalChangesIt is important to understand the differencebetween chemical and physical changes. The twotypes are based on studying chemical reactionsand states of matter. We admit that somechanges are obvious, but there are some basicideas you can use. Physical changes are aboutenergy and states of matter. Chemical changeshappen on a molecular level.When you step on a can and crush it, you have forced a physical change. The shape of the object has changed. It wasnt a change in the state of matter, but something changed. When you melt an ice cube you have also forced a physical change (adding energy). That example caused a change in the state of matter. You can cause physical changes with forces like motion, temperature, and pressure. Chemical changes happen on a much smaller scale. While some experiments show obvious chemical changes such as a color change, mostchemical changes happen between molecules and are unseen. When iron (Fe) rustsyou can see it happen over a long period of time. The actual molecules havechanged their structure (the iron oxidized). Melting a sugar cube is a physical changebecause the substance is still sugar. Burning a sugar cube is a chemical change.The energy of the fire has broken down the chemical bonds.Some changes are extremely small. Chemical changes can happen over a series ofsteps, and the result might have the same number of atoms but have a differentstructure. The sugars glucose, galactose, and fructose all have six carbon atoms,twelve hydrogen atoms, and six oxygen atoms. Even though they are made of thesame atoms, they have very different shapes and are called structural isomers. Theyeach have different chemical reactions because of their molecular structure. http://www.chem4kids.com/files/matter_chemphys.html

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