Key PointsMatter can exist in among three key states: solid, liquid, or gas.Solid matter is created of tightly packed particles. A solid will certainly retain the shape; the particles are not cost-free to move around.Liquid issue is make of an ext loosely packed particles. It will take the form of that is container. Particles deserve to move about within a liquid, but they are packed densely sufficient that volume is maintained.Gaseous issue is composed of particles packed so loosely the it has actually neither a characterized shape no one a identified volume. A gas deserve to be compressed.

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TermssolidA substance the retains its size and also shape there is no a container; a substance whose molecules cannot relocate freely except to vibrate.gasA problem that can only be contained if that is totally surrounded by a container (or held together by gravitational pull); a substance whose molecules have negligible intermolecular interactions and also can move freely.liquidA substance the flows and keeps no definite shape since its molecules space loosely packed and constantly moving. The takes the form of that is container but maintains continuous volume.

The three states of issue are the three unique physical creates that matter deserve to take in many environments: solid, liquid, and gas. In too much environments, various other states might be present, such as plasma, Bose-Einstein condensates, and also neutron stars. More states, such together quark-gluon plasmas, are also believed to be possible. Lot of the atomic issue of the cosmos is hot plasma in the kind of rarefied interstellar medium and also dense stars.

Historically, the states of issue were distinguished based upon qualitative differences in their mass properties. Solid is the state in which issue maintains a solved volume and shape; liquid is the state in which matter adapts come the shape of that is container however varies just slightly in volume; and gas is the state in i beg your pardon matter increases to occupy the volume and also shape the its container. Every of this three timeless states of matter can change directly right into either the the various other two classic states.

The states of matterThis diagram shows the nomenclature because that the various phase transitions.


A solid’s particles room packed carefully together. The forces in between the particles are solid enough that the corpuscle cannot move freely; they have the right to only vibrate. Together a result, a solid has a stable, definite shape and a definite volume. Solids have the right to only change shape under force, together when damaged or cut.

In crystalline solids, particles space packed in a regularly ordered, repeating pattern. Over there are plenty of different decision structures, and also the same substance deserve to have more than one structure. For example, iron has a body-centered cubic structure at temperatures below 912 °C and also a face-centered cubic structure between 912 and 1394 °C. Ice has fifteen known crystal structures, every of which exists at a various temperature and pressure.

A solid deserve to transform into a liquid v melting, and a liquid deserve to transform right into a solid with freezing. A solid have the right to also adjust directly right into a gas with a procedure called sublimation.


A fluid is a liquid that conforms to the shape of the container yet that retains a nearly continuous volume independent of pressure. The volume is identify (does no change) if the temperature and pressure room constant. As soon as a hard is heated over its melting point, it becomes liquid since the push is higher than the triple allude of the substance. Intermolecular (or interatomic or interionic) pressures are still important, but the molecules have actually enough power to relocate around, which renders the structure mobile. This method that a fluid is not definite in shape yet rather conforms come the shape of the container. The volume is usually better than the of its matching solid (water is a well-known exception to this rule). The greatest temperature in ~ which a particular liquid have the right to exist is referred to as its vital temperature.

A liquid have the right to be converted to a gas v heating at continuous pressure come the substance’s boiling point or v reduction of push at consistent temperature. This process of a liquid an altering to a gas is called evaporation.


Gas molecules have actually either very weak bonds or no bonds in ~ all, for this reason they have the right to move freely and quickly. Since of this, not only will a gas conform come the shape of its container, the will likewise expand to completely fill the container. Gas molecule have enough kinetic power that the result of intermolecular forces is small (or zero, for perfect gas), and also they space spaced very far apart from each other; the usual distance in between neighboring molecules is much better than the dimension of the molecule themselves.

A gas at a temperature below its an essential temperature can likewise be dubbed a vapor. A vapor deserve to be liquefied v compression without cooling. The can likewise exist in equilibrium v a fluid (or solid), in which instance the gas pressure amounts to the vapor press of the liquid (or solid).

A supercritical liquid (SCF) is a gas whose temperature and pressure are higher than the an essential temperature and critical pressure. In this state, the distinction between liquid and gas disappears. A supercritical liquid has the physics properties of a gas, however its high thickness lends it the properties of a solvent in some cases. This deserve to be helpful in number of applications. For example, supercritical carbon dioxide is offered to extract caffeine in the production of decaffeinated coffee.

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Phase changes – YouTubeWhat does a phase readjust look choose at the molecule level? This video clip takes a look in ~ the molecular structure of solids, liquids, and also gases and examines just how the kinetic power of the particles changes. The video also discusses melting, vaporization, condensation, and also freezing.