Q:

What is a phase change?

A:

A phase change, also known as a phase transition, is a transformation in the physical state of a certain sample of matter. The phrase is most commonly used to describe the transition of a material between solid, liquid, gaseous and plasma states.

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These phase changes are transitions in the thermodynamic states of matter propelled by changes in temperature and pressure. The most easily identified example of a material undergoing phase change is a block of ice melting into water and subsequently evaporating as steam while temperature rises. Different materials have different points of temperature or pressure at which they will undergo a phase change. For water, the point at which the solid form is differentiated from liquid is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

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