States of Matter


We will be looking at the different states of matter. In high school we are told that there are three states of matter; which are solid, liquid and gas. But when you start college, especially doing the sciences you learn of a fourth state of matter called Plasma.

We will look at solid, liquid and gas in this post and state the meaning for plasma. So let’s start.


Solid is the state of matter in which the particles are very close to each other, due to the strong force attraction between the particles. This cause the particles to only be able to vibrate about a fix position. The strong force of attraction between the particles, result in a regular pattern (how the particles are arrange).

So some characteristics of solids are; there particles are arrange in a regular pattern (because they are locked in place), solids have a fix shape and volume (if no heat is applied to them), they melt at very high temperature, do not flow (unless you applied heat) and they are not easily compress (not enough space between particles).


Liquid is the state of matter in which the particles are able to move about and slide over each other. Remember there is still a force of attraction between the particles/ molecules, but it is moderate. It is just strong enough to prevent the molecules from breaking away from each other and going on their own, if you like to look at it that way.

Some characteristics of liquids are; liquids assume the shape of their container, fix volume if the condition does not change (example no temperature change), flow easily and can be compress slightly.


Gas is the state of matter in which the particles are able to move freely about. There is still an intermolecular force (force of attraction between molecules or particles), but it is very weak. So the force of attraction basically do not restrict the movement of gases particles, has it does in liquid and solid. Also note that liquids and gases are called fluid.

Some characteristics of gases are; they do not have a fix shape or volume, flow easily, particles move at very high speed and gases can be easily compressed (because of large space between the molecules/particles) .

What is Plasma? According to online source, An ionized gas consisting of positive ions and free electrons in proportions resulting in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (as in the upper atmosphere and in fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (as in stars and nuclear fusion reactors).

So in truth there are four state of matter, but you only need to concern yourself with solid, liquid and gas if you are in high school.

Please take a look at the kinetic theory of matter, I will do a post to provide more information.

Please be advice that there is much more to learn about the states of matter and this post does not even cover five percent of the information. It only cover what the average person needs to know.


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