Lecture 17: Introduction to Phase Transitions
For example, metals carry current when the electrons inside flow -- that's a liquid phase of electrons. Refrigerator magnets are in a different electronic phase -- there, electrons execute tiny current loops around individual atoms, forming nanosize magnets. When they all align, the phase is called a "ferromagnet", and can be used to post notes to your refrigerator. We also discuss how you can go from liquid to gas and never encounter a phase transition! This is because liquid and gas aren't all that different to begin with. Class discussions: liquid crystal screens, melting snow, and what you really see when water boils.