|We are learning about flat points on time vs.
graphs indicating phase transitions. While each
transition takes place (ex: freezing) the
temperature stays constant, then after it is
the temperature continues dropping. Once
something is solid (ex: iron,) does the
temperature keep dropping indefinitely? Is there
a phase "colder" than solid? Would there ever be
any flat point phase transitions other than
plasma- gas, gas - liquid, liquid - solid?|
|Question Date: 2013-03-08|
That is a very good question! When we talk
about temperature, what we really are measuring
is the energy (and speed) of the atoms/molecules
within a material. The atoms move faster in
gases than liquids, and faster in liquids than
solids. As you cool down a solid, the atoms
move slower and slower, until they reach a
theoretical minimum where the atoms are not
moving altogether. The atoms have ZERO kinetic
energy. This temperature is called absolute
zero, and is the same for all materials! The
temperature is at -273 degrees Celsius or 460
degrees Fahrenheit below zero!!! This was first
correctly described by Lord Kelvin, and so we
call the temperature scale where absolute zero
is 0 and water freezes at 273.15 degrees the
Hopefully that helps.
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