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What are the states of matter?


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2017-01-15 07:31:24
2017-01-15 07:31:24

There are currently 5 known states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates.

Solids have a definite volume and shape. They cannot be compressed as the molecules in a solid are very closely packed due to strong intermolecular forces that bond the molecules together. They expand when heated and contract when cooled. When heated, the molecules vibrate more and more vigorously in their places as the temperature increases.

Liquids are fluid matter, such as seawater and paint. They have a definite volume, however have no definite shape, as the intermolecular forces are not as strong as those in solids to bond the molecules together. Hence, the molecules will move around the container when tilted to reach a horizontal level (plane). They can be compressed, however only to a small extent. Like solids they expand when heated and contract when cooled (a notable exception to this is water between 0 and 4°C).

Gases do not have a definite volume and shape, thus able to fill up anything, such as the atmosphere. They can be compressed as the intermolecular forces are weak. The gas molecules are spaced far apart, and they move in a continuous and random motion. Their speed varies according to the temperature and the number of atoms. The higher the temperature or the less the atoms, the faster they move. They bounce away from any other molecules (gas, dust or smoke), thus have no fixed motion. This is called Brownian Motion. Diffusion is greatly present, where the molecules will diffuse in the air till it reaches a state of equilibrium. Gas also expands greatly when heated and contracts greatly when cooled.

Plasma is the superheated phase where electrons become so excited they can escape from the atom (ionization). It is the rarest phase of matter on Earth although it is the most common in the universe. The gas state can be natural (lightning and the Sun) or man-made (fluorescent light tubes).

Examples of Bose-Einstein Condensates are superconductors and superfluids. These are materials that are cooled till they almost reach absolute zero (0 K, -273.15­°C). Superconductors are materials (solids) that have no resistance to the flow of electricity, such as superconducting metals, alloys and compounds (alloy of Niobium and Titanium). They are extremely cooled, and can repel a magnetic field. Superfluids are elements with very low boiling points, cooled so much that they are now liquid and have strange behaviors. Liquid helium, for example, is cooled until it can actually "creep" up the walls of a smaller container placed inside a larger container to enter and then form its own horizontal level. Some superfluids are also able to slow light's moving speed down; while this is not a unique property, the degree of the slowing (from 299792458ms-1 down to around 17ms-1) is quite astonishing.
Gas, liquid and solid are states of matter.

Density is not a state of matter.
what is the different state of matter


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