States of Matter

What is Matter?

As discovered by scientists, the matter is made up of very tiny particles and these particles are so small that we cannot see them with naked eyes.

It has been observed that matter exists in nature in different forms. Some substances are rigid and have a fixed shape like wood and stone; some substances can flow and take the shape of their container like water, while there are forms of matter that do not have definite shape or size such as air.

Thus, the matter can be classified into different categories based on the physical properties exhibited by them and the states in which they exist; these are called states of matter.

Following are the basic three states of matter:

  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • Gas

Apart from the above mentioned three, there are 2 more states of matter which we do not see in our everyday life. They are Plasma & Bose-einstein condensate.

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  • In solids, particles are tightly or closely packed.
  • The gaps between the particles are tiny and hence it is tough to compress them.
  • Solid has a fixed shape and volume.
  • Due to its rigid nature, particles in solid can only vibrate about their mean position and cannot move.
  • Force of attraction between particles is adamant.
  • The rate of diffusion in solids is very low.
  • An example of solids: solid ice, sugar, rock, wood, etc.
solids structure

Structure of solids


  • In a liquid state of matter, particles are less tightly packed as compared to solids.
  • Liquids take the shape of the container in which they are kept.
  • Liquids are difficult to compress as particles have less space between them to move.
  • Liquids have fixed volume but no fixed shape.
  • The rate of diffusion in liquids is higher than that of solids.
  • Force of attraction between the particles is weak than solids.
  • Example of a liquid state of matter: water, milk, blood, coffee, etc.
liquids structure

Structure of Liquids


  • In gases, particles are far apart from each other.
  • Force of attraction between the particles is negligible and they can move freely.
  • Gases have neither a fixed volume nor a fixed shape.
  • The gaseous state has the highest compressibility as compared to solids and liquids.
  • The rate is diffusion is higher than solids and liquids.
  • The kinetic energy of particles is higher than in solids and liquids.
  • An example of gases: air, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.

The three states of matter can be represented by the following diagram which describes all the properties as discussed above.

solid liquid and gas

States of matter


  • Plasma is a not so generally seen form of matter. Plasma consists of particles with extremely high kinetic energy. Electricity is used to ionize noble gases and make glowing signs, which is essentially plasma.
  • Superheated forms of plasma are what stars are.

Bose-Einstein Condensates

  • Discovered in 1995, Bose-Einstein condensates were made with the help of the advancements in technology.
  • Carl Weiman and Eric Cornell cooled a sample of rubidium with the help of magnets and lasers to within a few degrees of absolute zero.
  • At the said temperature, the motion of the molecules becomes negligible. As this brings down the kinetic energy, the atoms no longer stay separate but they begin to clump together. As the atoms join together they form a super-atom.
  • Light slows down as it passes through a BEC helping scientists to study more about the nature of light as a wave and particle.
  • BEC’s also show properties of a superfluid which implies, it flows without friction.


1. What are the three common states of matter?
Ans: The common thing among the three states of matter is-they consist of tiny, small particles. They have a specific mass and can take up space. There is a volume in these three states. In these three states ‘atoms have the strength of attractions between them.

2. Can matter be created?
Ans: In addition, the first law of thermodynamics does not state that matter can not be created or destroyed, but rather that the total amount of energy in a closed system can not be created or destroyed although it can be modified from one form to another.

3. Is matter created or destroyed?
Ans: There is a scientific law called the Mass Conservation Law, which Antoine Lavoisier discovered in 1785. It states in its most compact form: matter is not created or destroyed. … The universe’s total mass and energy is constant.

4. Is matter-energy?
Ans: The mass of these three particles is less than a neutron’s mass, so each of them still gets some energy. So the same thing is really power and matter. Fully interchangeable. … So in a way, all facets of the same thing are energy, matter, space and time.

5. What is Einstein’s theory of relativity?
Ans: In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that for all non-accelerating observers, the laws of physics were the same and that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of all observers ‘ movement. This was the special relativity theory

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