A state the matter is one of the unique forms that various phases of issue take on. Four claims of issue are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and also plasma. Many other claims are known such together Bose–Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter yet these only happen in extreme instances such together ultra cold or ultra thick matter. Various other states, such as quark–gluon plasmas, are believed to be possible but stay theoretical for now.

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Historically, the distinction is made based on qualitative distinctions in properties. Matter in the solid state maintains a resolved volume and also shape, through component corpuscle (atoms, molecule or ions) nearby together and fixed into place. Issue in the liquid state maintains a solved volume, yet has a variable shape that adapts to right its container. Its particles are still nearby together yet move freely. Matter in the gas state has actually both change volume and also shape, adapting both come fit the container. That particles room neither close together nor resolved in place. Matter in the plasma state has actually variable volume and shape, but as well as neutral atoms, it has a far-reaching number of ions and also electrons, both that which deserve to move approximately freely. Plasma is the many common kind of visible issue in the universe.<1>


The four an essential states that matter. Clockwise from height left, they space solid, liquid, plasma and also gas, stood for by an ice cream sculpture, a fall of water, electrical arcing indigenous a tesla coil, and the air roughly clouds respectively.

The four basic states


In a solid, the particles (ions, atom or molecules) are closely packed together. The forces between particles are solid so the the corpuscle cannot relocate freely but can just vibrate. As a result, a solid has a stable, definite shape, and also a identify volume. Solids have the right to only adjust their form by force, together when broken or cut.

In crystalline solids, the particles (atoms, molecules, or ions) room packed in a frequently ordered, repeating pattern. There are various various crystal structures, and also the same substance can have more than one structure (or hard phase). For example, iron has actually a body-centred cubic framework at temperatures listed below 912 °C, and also a face-centred cubic structure in between 912 and also 1394 °C. Ice has actually fifteen known crystal structures, or fifteen solid phases, i beg your pardon exist at various temperatures and pressures.<2>

Glasses and also other non-crystalline, amorphous solids there is no long-range order room not thermal equilibrium floor states; because of this they space described below as nonclassical says of matter.

Solids deserve to be transformed right into liquids by melting and also can also adjust directly into gases through the procedure of sublimation.



Structure the a classical single atom liquid. Atoms have countless nearest neighbors in contact, yet no long-range stimulate is present.

A fluid is a almost incompressible liquid that conforms come the form of that is container yet retains a (nearly) consistent volume independent of pressure. The volume is definite if the temperature and pressure room constant. Once a hard is heated above its melting point, it becomes liquid, offered that the press is greater than the triple point of the substance. Intermolecular (or interatomic or interionic) pressures are tho important, yet the molecules have enough power to move relative to every other and the framework is mobile. This method that the shape of a fluid is no definite yet is determined by its container. The volume is usually higher than that of the corresponding solid, the ideal known exemption being water, H2O. The highest temperature at which a given liquid have the right to exist is its critical temperature.<3>



The spaces in between gas molecules are very big. Gas molecules have really weak or no bonds at all. The molecule in “gas” have the right to move freely and fast.

A gas is a compressible fluid. Not just will a gas conform to the form of its container however it will likewise expand to to fill the container.

In a gas, the molecules have enough kinetic energy so the the impact of intermolecular forces is small (or zero for an ideal gas), and the common distance between neighboring molecules is much better than the molecular size. A gas has no definite form or volume, however occupies the entire container in which that is confined. A liquid might be converted to a gas by heater at continuous pressure to the boil point, or else by reducing the pressure at consistent temperature.

At temperatures below its an essential temperature, a gas is additionally called a vapor, and can it is in liquefied by compression alone without cooling. A vapour deserve to exist in equilibrium v a liquid (or solid), in which case the gas pressure equals the vapor push of the liquid (or solid).

A supercritical liquid (SCF) is a gas who temperature and also pressure are over the an essential temperature and an essential pressure respectively. In this state, the distinction between liquid and also gas disappears. A supercritical liquid has the physics properties the a gas, however its high thickness confers solvent properties in some cases, which leader to valuable applications. Because that example, supercritical carbon dioxide is provided to extract caffeine in the produce of decaffeinated coffee.<4>



Like a gas, plasma walk not have actually definite form or volume. Uneven gases, plasmas room electrically conductive, develop magnetic fields and electric currents, and respond strong to electromagnetic forces. Positively fee nuclei swim in a “sea” of freely-moving disassociated electrons, comparable to the means such fees exist in conductive metal. In reality it is this electron “sea” that enables matter in the plasma state to conduct electricity.

The plasma state is frequently misunderstood, however it is in reality quite typical on Earth, and also the bulk of civilization observe that on a continual basis without even realizing it. Lightning, electric sparks, fluorescent lights, neon lights, plasma televisions, some varieties of flame and also the stars room all examples of illuminated issue in the plasma state.

A gas is typically converted come a plasma in among two ways, either from a huge voltage difference between two points, or by exposing it to extremely high temperatures.

Heating matter to high temperatures reasons electrons to leave the atoms, bring about the visibility of complimentary electrons. At an extremely high temperatures, such as those current in stars, the is suspect that basically all electrons are “free”, and that a an extremely high-energy plasma is essentially bare nuclei swim in a sea that electrons.

Phase transitions

Main article: phase transitions

A state of matter is additionally characterized by phase transitions. A phase change indicates a adjust in structure and also can be recognized by an abrupt readjust in properties. A distinct state of matter can be characterized as any set of states differentiated from any other collection of claims by a step transition. Water deserve to be stated to have actually several distinctive solid states.<5> The figure of superconductivity is associated with a step transition, therefore there are superconductive states. Likewise, ferromagnetic claims are demarcated by step transitions and also have distinctive properties. As soon as the adjust of state wake up in step the intermediate procedures are dubbed mesophases. Such phases have been exploited by the development of liquid crystal technology. <6><7>

The state or phase of a given collection of matter can adjust depending top top pressure and temperature conditions, transitioning to various other phases as these conditions readjust to favor your existence; for example, hard transitions to fluid with an increase in temperature. Near absolute zero, a problem exists as a solid. As warm is added to this problem it melts right into a fluid at its melting point, boils into a gas at its boil point, and also if boil high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons are so energized the they leave their parental atoms.

Forms of matter that are not created of molecules and also are arranged by different forces can likewise be considered different claims of matter. Superfluids (like Fermionic condensate) and the quark–gluon plasma are examples.

In a chemistry equation, the state of issue of the chemicals might be shown as (s) because that solid, (l) for liquid, and also (g) for gas. One aqueous equipment is denoted (aq). Issue in the plasma state is seldom offered (if at all) in chemical equations, so over there is no traditional symbol to denote it. In the rarely equations that plasma is supplied in plasma is symbolized together (p).

Non-classical states


Main article: Glass

Glass is a non-crystalline or amorphous solid material that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state. Glasses deserve to be make of quite different classes that materials: inorganic networks (such as window glass, do of silicate add to additives), metallic alloys, ionic melts, aqueous solutions, molecular liquids, and also polymers. Thermodynamically, a glass is in a metastable state v respect come its crystalline counterpart. The switch rate, however, is nearly zero.

Crystals with some degree of disorder

A plastic decision is a molecular solid through long-range positional order but with constituent molecules retaining rotational freedom; in one orientational glass this level of freedom is frozen in a quenched disordered state.

Similarly, in a turn glass magnetic disorder is frozen.

Liquid decision states

Main article: fluid crystal

Liquid crystal states have actually properties intermediate between mobile liquids and ordered solids. Generally, they space able to flow like a liquid, but exhibiting long-range order. Because that example, the nematic phase is composed of lengthy rod-like molecules such together para-azoxyanisole, i m sorry is nematic in the temperature range 118–136 °C.<8> In this state the molecules circulation as in a liquid, but they all point in the exact same direction (within each domain) and cannot revolve freely.

Other types of liquid crystals are explained in the main article on this states. Several types have technical importance, because that example, in liquid crystal displays.

Magnetically ordered

Transition metal atoms often have magnetic moments because of the net spin of electron that stay unpaired and do not type chemical bonds. In some solids the magnetic moment on various atoms space ordered and can form a ferromagnet, an antiferromagnet or a ferrimagnet.

In a ferromagnet—for instance, solid iron—the magnetic moment on each atom is set in the same direction (within a magnetic domain). If the domain names are likewise aligned, the solid is a irreversible magnet, i beg your pardon is magnetic even in the absence of an exterior magnetic field. The magnetization disappears once the magnet is heated come the Curie point, which for iron is 768 °C.

An antiferromagnet has actually two networks that equal and also opposite magnetic moments, which cancel each other out so the the network magnetization is zero. For example, in nickel(II) oxide (NiO), fifty percent the nickel atoms have moments aligned in one direction and fifty percent in the contrary direction.

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In a ferrimagnet, the 2 networks that magnetic moments room opposite yet unequal, so that cancellation is incomplete and there is a non-zero network magnetization. An example is magnetite (Fe3O4), which includes Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions with various magnetic moments.