PROPERTIES OF MATTER
The great variety of shapes and colours with which matter appears to our eyes is because atoms can aggregate with each other in so many ways and form larger, sometimes very complex structures with an orderly or unorderly distribution of particles, and can generate forces between them that lead to amazing effects.
Due to the composition made by atoms and their conformation, the matter has various characteristics:
viscosity, measuring resistance to shape change and creep;
surface tension, the force of attraction between atoms on the surface of a liquid that is attracted to the atoms below. This force creates a kind of film, which even allows some insects to stand on water and walk;
magnetic properties, typical of ferromagnetic materials whose atoms are locally aligned to form zones called magnetic domains: with an external magnetic field, the domains all orientate equally and the material acquires magnetic properties;
shape memory, a peculiarity of certain materials, mostly alloys, whose atoms in the solid state can be arranged in several ways depending on temperature: there is no one way! This characteristic allows it to ‘remember’ its original shape so that if it is heated above a certain temperature, it can return to its original shape.