How Can You Remove Energy From Matter?

February 14, 2024

No, you cannot turn energy back into matter. If you could, it would require an enormous amount of energy. In fact, it is impossible to create matter from pure energy because all matter is made of particles that have a specific type and amount of energy.

You can however change matter’s state from one state to another using energy. For example, changing water from a solid to a liquid requires the addition of thermal energy, which is transferred as heat. The amount of energy needed to do this is equal to the difference in the kinetic energy of the particles of the substance, as measured with a thermometer.

Adding energy (heating) increases a substance’s kinetic energy, as the particles vibrate and move faster and farther apart. This is why it feels warm. It also allows a substance to overcome intermolecular forces, and it can cause a phase change. For example, heating water causes it to vaporize and to turn into steam or gas as the particles break free of their fixed positions.

Removing energy (cooling) decreases a substance’s kinetic energy, making the particles vibrate and move slower and closer together. This allows a substance to overcome intermolecular force and to stick together. For example, cooling water makes it freeze and form the ordered crystalline structure of ice as the molecules slow down their movements. It is also possible to remove enough energy from a substance that its kinetic energy becomes too low for intermolecular forces to hold it together, and a phase change occurs. This is how we get ice from water.

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