Heating Curves and Phase Changes: Distil Ethanol (NEW)

Time to complete course: 15 min.

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About Heating Curves and Phase Changes: Distil Ethanol (NEW) Virtual Lab Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Matter and Phase Changes: Distil ethanol” simulation.

Heating curves aren’t like any other graphs, they have a story to tell about a substance. In this simulation, you will be generating the heating curve for water and ethanol through a small experiment of your own. You will observe the substance upon heating and correlate these observations to the data recorded on the heat curve. Will you be able to identify the physical properties of ethanol and water from the heating curve?

Get familiar with the three states of matter

Look closely at three examples of elements each in a different state of matter: solid, liquid or gas. Familiarise yourself with the difference between the three through these physical examples before moving on to examining the physical changes of a substance from one state of matter to another.

Generate heating curves

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you are ready to learn about additional aspects of phase changes: Specific heat, latent heat, and pressure. You will utilize a temperature probe and a heat plate to generate a heating curve and then compare the heating curve of water, ethanol, and metal. By doing so, you will be able to decode the meaning of each line of the heating curves.

Examine the heating curve closely through our interactive screen activity where you will get tested on each section of curve and what information this provides on the physical properties of the substance.

Learn about phase changes

Did you know that heating curves and phase changes are related? Learn how to identify the phase changes of each substance through the physical property observations and understand the science behind the phase change from solid to liquid and a liquid to a gas.

Discover how heating curves indicate the temperatures at which these phase changes occur.

Will you be able to generate the heating curve of a substance with the understanding of how this relates to the occurring phase changes?

Get Started Now

Learn how to generate and interpret the heating curves of ethanol and water. Discover how to relate heating curve data to the recorded observations of the substance on heating and determine the physical properties from the generated curve.

Techniques in Lab

  • Heating Curves
  • Phase Changes

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Explain solid, liquid, and gas states in terms of particle interaction and bonding energy
  • Describe and explain the characteristics of a phase change
  • Read a phase diagram and explain each region
  • Interpret a heating curve of a given substance
  • Explain the difference between a heating curve and a phase diagram, and the difference between specific heat and latent heat

Simulation Features

Length – 15 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Pre-university / remedial


HS-PS1-3, HS-PS1-4, HS-PS1-7, HS-PS1-5, PS1.A-E2


Chemistry 4.4 Intermolecular forces


Chemistry Unit 2.2 Intermolecular Force and Potential Energy
Chemistry Unit 3.1. Intermolecular Forces
Chemistry Unit 3.2 Properties of Solids
Chemistry Unit 3.3 Solids, Liquids, and Gases
Chemistry Unit 4.4 Physical and Chemical Changes
Chemistry Unit 6.5 Energy of phase Changes

Screenshots of Heating Curves and Phase Changes: Distil Ethanol (NEW) Virtual Lab Simulation


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