What Are the Three Phases of Matter?

Did you know the differences between the 3 main phases of matter? We can help with that!

 In this blog, we’ll discuss the three phases of matter and the characteristics of each one. We will also provide examples to help illustrate each phase. Stay tuned for more information!

What is Matter?

All things are composed of atoms and molecules. When they aggregate together and interact with each other, they form matter. Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. 

The cookies in your cookie jar, the books on your shelf, the chocolate on your favorite mug, the air you breathe-  all of these are matter.  

From the examples given above, matter seems to appear different from each other. These differences allow us to study them better due to the different properties caused by their molecular arrangement and energies. Solid, liquid, and gas are the 3 phases of matter.  

Solids

Notice how you eat at a table, sit on a chair, and not on the water? That is because solids have definite shapes and volumes.

Solids molecules have minimal space between them. This gives them their definite shape. Due to these small spaces between them, movement is only minimal and is usually described as vibration. 

Furthermore, because the molecules are close to each other, solids are hard to compress. Due to minimal movement allowed with the limited space, the energy of these molecules is low. But their attractive forces with each other are strong. 

Due to compactness, solids have high densities. Among many examples of solids are bottles, books, pens, and sandwiches.

Liquids

Liquids do not have definite shapes and would usually copy the shape of their container. That is why your orange juice would take the shape of the glass that contains it. 

Molecules of liquids have more spaces between them. Hence, they could move more quickly than solid molecules. With more available space for movement, the energy of liquid molecules is greater than that of solids. 

Aside from that, the forces of attraction which hold liquids together are weaker than solids. This gives the liquid molecules the capability to slide. In comparison to solids, liquids have lower densities.

Some examples of liquids would be water, juices, soup, and cola.

Gas

The last phase of matter is gas. Do you notice how you could smell your mom’s cooking from the kitchen even when you are in your room? The reason why you smell it is because of gas! Specifically, gas diffusion. 

Gases do not have an original shape and will also take the shape of their container. Balloons, for example, would contain gas, and the gas would adapt to the shape of the balloon. 

Gaseous molecules move freely since there are wide spaces between them. Due to the wide spaces available, gas molecules have more energy than both liquids and solids. 

Since it has more energy to move around, diffusion takes place swiftly, making the food cooked in the kitchen reach your room. When it comes to density, the great space available for gaseous molecules to move gives gas their characteristic low densities compared to solids and liquids.

Some examples of gas would be oxygen, air, and carbon monoxide. 

Takeaway

Matter is composed of atoms held together by attractive forces. We have three phases of matter- solids, liquids, and gases. These three phases differ in their molecular arrangement and corresponding properties. 

Solids are composed of molecules that are near each other, giving them little space to move. This gives solids their definite shape, hard compressibility, and high density. 

On the other hand, liquids have more free space to move around, giving liquid molecules more energy to slide from each other. 

With more space to move around, liquids do not retain their own shape and are less dense than solids. Lastly, gas molecules have a whole lot of space to move around, which allows them to be compressible. With that, it is the least dense and most compressible of all phases.

Elena Jones

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