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Physical States of Matter


Looking at the nature of our planet, we can see that matter comes at room temperature in three physical states. The rocks of the earth's crust are in solid state. In the seas, rivers and lakes, the water is in the liquid state. And our atmosphere is in the gaseous state.

Matter is formed by the gathering of mutually attracting particles. It is the intensity of these forces of attraction that determines what state the matter will present in: solid, liquid or gas.

Solid state

The substances have defined shapes and their volume does not vary considerably with variations in temperature and pressure.

The particles that make up the solid are bound together by a very large tensile force so that they cannot move freely, vibrating only in fixed positions.

Liquid state

The particles constituting the liquid state are not tightly bound together as they slide over one another, adapting to the shape of the container containing them, but these forces of attraction between the particles are strong enough that no variation in volume occurs and the particles can hardly be compressed.

Gaseous State

Substances have lower density than solids and liquids, occupy the entire volume of the container containing them, can expand indefinitely and are easily compressed. This behavior can be explained by the forces of attraction between very weak particles which therefore have high mobility.

State Changes

  • Fusion: passage from solid state to liquid.
  • Solidification: passage from liquid to solid state.
  • Vaporization: It is the passage from the liquid state to the gaseous state. Vaporization can occur in three ways: evaporation, heating and boiling.
  • Condensation: It is the passage from the gaseous state to the liquid state. The condensation of a gas to the liquid state is called liquefaction.
  • Sublimation: It is the passage from the solid state directly to the gaseous state.

Fusion point: is the constant temperature at which a solid turns into a liquid. Melting and solidification points occur at the same temperature.

Boiling point: It is the constant temperature at which a liquid passes into the gaseous state.

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