on . Posted in Thermodynamics

matter 1When you look around, everything you see or may not see in the universe is made up of matter.  Matter refers to anything that has mass and takes up space.  This includes all physical substances and objects that we can see, touch, and interact with. 

Matter can exist in different states or phases, such as solid, liquid, gas, or plasma, depending on the temperature and pressure conditions.  Matter is composed of atoms, which are the basic building blocks of all matter.  Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, which are subatomic particles with different properties and charges.  The properties of matter, such as its density, melting point, and chemical reactivity, depend on the arrangement and behavior of these subatomic particles.

Almost all matter is composed of an electric charge.  All electric charges are either positive or negative.  Like charges repel each other, unlike charges attract each other.  Matter that has no overall charge is called neutral.

Matter is essential to our everyday lives and to many scientific disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, and materials science.  Understanding the properties and behavior of matter is important for developing new technologies, improving materials and products, and addressing environmental and health issues.


Matter Types

  • Gas  -  Able to be compressed to fit a confined space and expanded when released.
  • Liquid  -  A specific volume and can hold any shape it is contained within.
  • Plasma  -  It is everywhere in the universe and the most common of all matter.  Of all types of matter it is closest to a gas.
  • Solid  -  Has particles that are compressed together in an orderly pattern.


matter phasesMatter transition  phases

  Phase Change    Name 
gas to liquid condensation
gas to solid deposition
liquid to solid freezing
gas to plasma ionization
solid to liquid melting
plasma to gas recombination
solid to gas sublimation
liquid to gas vaporization


enthalpy of systemEnthalpy of system

The chart to the right shows the transitional phase change between gas, liquid, an solid.  Gas having the highest enthalpy, liquid having intermediate enthalpy, and liquid having the lowest enthalpy.








phase to phase transition 2Phase to phase transition

This diagram shows the arrangement of the physical properties between solids, liquids, and gas.









Matter Properties

 Properties Gas Liquid Solid
Compressibility Yes Low No
Density Low Moderate High
Expandability Yes Yes No
Intermolecule force strength Weak Moderate Strong
Particle Movement Free movement Free movement No free movement
Shape Infinite Infinite Fixed
Shear Resistance Yes Yes No
Viscosity Low Varies No
Volume Infinite Fixed Fixed


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