States of matter

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A comparison between the first three states of matter

Matter is everything that has mass (weight) and takes up any given space. All Matter will be made out of atoms. Matter can exist, normally on Earth's average atmospheric pressure at seas level, in four states:

  • Solids have their atoms tightly packed together. They have a fixed shape.
  • Liquids have their atoms in a non-fixed shape. They would be sliding around each other. They take up the shape of the bottom of their container
  • Gases have their atoms spaced far apart from each other. They take the shape of their container.
  • Plasma is formed when a gas is exposed to very high temperatures, causing the electrons to be stripped off from the rest of the atom, causing a sea of electricity to be formed.

One example that follows the states of matter is water.

Exotic states of matter which cannot exist on Earth include degenerate matter, where the atomic structures are crushed to a very high density, which exists in white dwarfs and neutron stars.

Conversion between states

800px-Physics matter state transition 1 en.svg.png

Water, when exposed to low temperatures, freezes into a solid, but when brought to room temperature, it melts into liquid water. When heated to high temperatures, it boils and evaporates into a gas, but when brought back to room temperature and then back into low temperatures, condenses back into a liquid and freezes into a gas again.