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The difference in the sound that the two rods make involves what are called phase changes.

Water undergoes phase changes. When heated, solid water (ice) will melt to form liquid water. Upon further heating, liquid water will evaporate to form water in a gaseous state (steam). Watch water change its phase in the movies below.

Solid to Liquid
Liquid to Gas

More about phase changes

Exploring the Nanoworld   |   MRSEC Nanostructured Interfaces
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