States Of Matter

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The definition of matter is something that takes up space and has a mass. It

has to have inertia and weight when gravity is present. Matter is commonly

known to exist in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. Scientists also acknowledge

two other states: plasma and Bose-Einstein condensate (A). The general properties

of matter come from having mass and taking up space. Even though a substance

might change its state, it still consists of the same atoms. The state of matter

depends on its temperature, which is the average kinetic energy of the substances

The molecules of a solid are held closely together, and don't have much

free space to move. This is why a solid holds its shape. The atoms do not have

enough kinetic energy to move out of their positions. This limitation gives a solid

a limited volume and shape. The particles of most solids are arranged in

duplicating geometric patterns called crystals (C). As the temperature of a solid

increases, the molecules eventually free themselves from their fixed position and a

phase change occurs. Depending on the element, the change from solid to liquid

will happen at a specific temperature known as the melting point (B). When that

happens, the substance is classified as a liquid.

The molecules of a liquid have more room to move, but are still held

loosely held together. Because the liquids particles can move freely, they have no

definite shape (B). The molecules have the ability to flow, and will take on the

shape of their container. The atoms are still somewhat close together, and have a

definite volume (A). At a certain temperature, particles gain enough energy to

become free of the bond to other particles. When liquid gains enough kinetic

energy to become a gas, it is said to be boiling. Different substances have distinct

boiling points, depending on the amount of energy needed to make the molecules... Continue Reading