 Question Video: Identifying the Characteristic That Is Not Used to Describe Matter | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying the Characteristic That Is Not Used to Describe Matter | Nagwa

# Question Video: Identifying the Characteristic That Is Not Used to Describe Matter Science

Which of the following is not a characteristic that can be used to describe matter? [A] Density [B] Electrical conductivity [C] Hardness [D] Thermal conductivity [E] Visibility

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### Video Transcript

Which of the following is not a characteristic that can be used to describe matter? (A) Density, (B) electrical conductivity, (C) hardness, (D) thermal conductivity, or (E) visibility.

This question is asking us to determine which characteristic cannot be used to describe matter. Matter is anything that has mass and volume. All things are made up of matter. All matter is made up of atoms. Atoms are the basic units of matter and can be used to understand properties of matter.

The five answer choices listed are examples of physical properties. A physical property is a measurable property that can be observed without changing the identity of the substance. Let’s look more closely at each of the properties listed.

Answer choice (A) is density, which can be defined as an object’s mass divided by its volume. In other words, it is the amount of matter per space. Let’s take, for example, two objects with the same volume of one cubic meter. The first object has a mass of one kilogram. The second object has a mass of 10 kilograms. Because there is a higher mass per volume, the second object has a higher density. This is a physical property that describes matter. For example, we could use density to describe the difference between two different types of matter. This question is asking us to identify which is not a characteristic used to describe matter. So we can eliminate answer choice (A).

Answer choice (B) is electrical conductivity. Electrical conductivity is the ability to conduct an electric current. For example, a metal wire has a high electrical conductivity. Metals have a high ability to conduct electric current, whereas a cloth shirt would not have a high ability to conduct electric current. This is an observable property used to describe matter, so this is not the correct answer. We can eliminate answer choice (B).

Answer choice (C) is hardness. Hardness of matter can be described as a measure of a material’s strength and resistance to scratching. For example, a diamond is described as having a very high hardness since it cannot be scratched easily and is very strong. However, graphite, which is the material in a pencil, has a very low hardness, which is why it is soft enough to write on paper. This is a physical property used to describe matter. We can eliminate answer choice (C).

Answer choice (D) is thermal conductivity. Thermal conductivity is the ability to conduct thermal energy. In other words, it is a material’s ability to conduct heat. Let’s take for example a household metal pot. The metal has a high thermal conductivity and heats up quickly. It conducts heat easily and can heat up things like water, which makes it a very useful material to us. However, a material such as plastic is not a good conductor of heat, which makes it an effective handle to protect us from the heat. Thermal conductivity is a physical property used to describe matter. We can eliminate answer choice (D).

Finally, answer choice (E) is visibility. Visibility is the ability of something to be seen by the human eye. Much of the matter in our daily lives can be seen. Take, for example, a glass of saltwater. While we can see the glass and water, we cannot see all of the matter present, like the salt particles dissolved in the water. Visibility is not an effective characteristic to describe matter, since not all matter can be seen. Therefore, answer choice (E) is the correct answer.

So the characteristic that cannot be used to describe matter is answer choice (E), visibility.