ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Diffusion. Purple cloud of potassium permanganate diffusing outwards as a solid piece dissolves in a beaker of water, seen from above. The solid piece (black) takes up much less space than the solution of potassium permanganate ions. This demonstrates the principle of diffusion, where a liquid or gas will spread out to fill the available space. This in turn demonstrates the fundamental differences between a solid and a gas or liquid. A solid is a rigid, constrained structure, which contrasts with the fluid, chaotic nature of a liquid or gas. The molecules of a solid are bonded, but solvation or melting breaks the bonds between the molecules.
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