In order to understand the different states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases), we must first understand what makes matter. Matter is made up of molecules and atoms. Millions of atoms and molecules fit together to form the objects we see every day from animals to planets. Matter is the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even us.
The makeup of the matter by these molecules and atoms determines it’s phase or state. There are three states that we will talk about: solid, liquid and gas. A solid state is an object that is solid like a table, chair, and so on. Liquid state is all the liquids you find like water and an example of a gas state is the air we breathe.
Transforming from one state to another
We have established that everything around us is made up of molecules and atoms. Now, you can also at times change the state of something from one to another. While the atoms and molecules within the object don’t change, but their bonding and how they move does. We can take water as an example to prove this point.
Water in the atmosphere appears as all the three states. When you have solid water, you have ice. If you freeze water or treat it to low temperature it forms bonds that transform it from liquid to solid. The atoms and molecules become more tightly packed due to the low temperature.
Water as a liquid is the most common type of water we see. As the ice heats up, the bonding and solid state of it breaks which allows the water to melt and turn in to liquid. The molecules in a liquid are freer to move as the bonds between them are not as strong as in the solid state.
If you were to heat water even more than it would turn into vapor, a state of the gas. The exposure to higher temperature allows the molecules to move even more freely which leads to them evaporating into gas. They can, however, be compressed together in a container or an object.
Facts about the three states
- Gases are usually not visible and can easily take the shape of the object they are in. Since the move around freely, they bounce from one end to the other.
- Air is made up of more than one gas, however, it is mostly oxygen and nitrogen.
- Some solids are transparent, meaning we can see through them. Glass is one of the most common examples of a transparent solid.
- Fire, which consists of many hot gases, is an example of a gas that we can see.
- While solids, liquids, and gases are common on earth, the most common state of matter around the universe is plasma. The reason for this is due to the stars being made of it.