Phase transition

In chemistry, thermodynamics, and many other related fields, phase transitions (or phase changes) are the physical processes of transition between a state of a medium, identified by some parameters, and another one, with different values of the parameters. Commonly the term is used to refer to changes among the basic states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas, as well as plasma in rare cases.

This diagram shows the nomenclature for the different phase transitions.

For example, a phase of a thermodynamic system and the states of matter have uniform physical properties. During a phase transition of a given medium, certain properties of the medium change, often discontinuously, as a result of the change of external conditions, such as temperature, pressure, or others. For example, a liquid may become gas upon heating to the boiling point, resulting in an abrupt change in volume. The measurement of the external conditions at which the transformation occurs is termed the phase transition. Phase transitions commonly occur in nature and are used today in many technologies.


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