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List of properties

  1. Sep 13, 2012 #1
    I'm really interested in properties of the elements because it is an important philosophical question. A little while ago when I went through my chemistry textbook I wrote down all the properties I encountered. I was wondering if someone would be kind enough to point out some of the properties I missed.

    dialectric constant
    resistance (to electrical current)
    temperature coefficient of resistivity
    critical temperatures of superconducters
    permeability (magnetism)
    electrolytic in water
    reductivity/oxzidation (plat and gold hard to oxidize)
    heat capacity/specific heat/molar heat capacity
    enthalpies of formation
    melting/boiling point
    surface tension
    volatility (how easily a liquid evaporates)/vapor pressure
    reactivity (with other elements)
    reaction rate
    activation energy
    equilibrium constant
    standard reduction potential
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Material properties questions have vexed philosophers for centuries ... there are a, potentially, infinite number of possible individual material properties: if you go to a library, their reference section will have books of material properties that occupy whole shelves.

    But have you noticed that they all seem to be related to each other? For instance, electrical resistance and resistivity are related.

    The fruitful philosophical question, and one which has occupied science as a whole for a bit over a century of concerted effort now, is "how few properties do you need to know before you can get the rest of them?"
  4. Sep 13, 2012 #3
    I see what you're saying. I've also notice that some properties arise when two particles come into contact with each other. For example, melting point/boiling point is a property which describes the temperature at which atoms begins to loosen/tighten their bonds with each other.

    I was also think that some particles interact with certain forces/field. For instance, the photon does not interact with the Higgs' Field whereas the other particles do. Dark matter does not interact with the electromagnetic field.
  5. Sep 13, 2012 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    which makes them related to the electromagnetic field ... which related the refractive index and so on.

    You'll also see that some material properties are specific to particular models or approximations to reality. Some of them change depending on how you looks at them. Even properties that would normally seem simple like length and duration turn out to depend on your relative velocity.

    Thus: another fun philosophical question is "are there any properties that do not depend on your POV?" i.e. are their any objective properties?

    This turns out to be closely related to the other one.

    yep - finding some sort of underlying mechanism that these fields are the emergent behavior from is what GUTs are all about.

    Of course it may be that the forces cannot be unified ... so far, however, it has been a fruitful approach. Such is empiricism.

    Bottom line: it is unlikely that compiling a complete list will be helpful to answering any philosophical questions ... it cannot be done. Think of it as a koan: contemplating the task can help you come to deeper understanding.
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