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Solids, liquids, and
gases are the three main, or fundamental phases of
matter. Each one has a different density and a
different level of stability. What determines the
stability of each phase is the bond between it’s
atoms. The tighter the bond between it’s atoms the
more stable that phase of matter is. Solids are the
most stable form of matter, followed by liquids,
and then gases. Solids have a definite shape and
do not take the shape of their container. Liquids
do not have any definite shape and do take the
shape of their container, the same is true with
gases. Once again it is the bond between the
atoms of liquids, and gases that make it have no
definite shape. The first phase of matter is solids.
Solids are the most stable form of matter. Solids
are more stable than liquids and gases. One type
of solid is a Crystalline solid. The particles in a
crystalline solid have a regular repeating pattern.
The types of crystalline solids are metals, alloys,
salts, valence crystals, molecular crystals,
polymers, and plastics. Most elementscrystalize as
metals. Some solids can also be frozen liquids.
The atoms in a solid are tightly bonded which
means it has a definiteshape. The second phase of
matter is liquids. Liquids have no definite shape.
Liquids are less orderly than solids but more
orderly than gases. Liquids can flow very easily.
Liquids also take the shape of their container.
Most liquids are very good conductors. Most
liquids are also good solvents. Some solids float in
liquids depending on their density. If the solid is
less dense than the liquid then it floats on the
liquids surface. If the solid is more dense than the
liquid then it sinks in the liquids. For example an
egg normally sinks in water because it’s density is
higher than water’s density. When you add salt to
the water the density of the water becomes higher
than the egg’s density so the egg floats. The third
and final fundamental phase of matter is gas.
Gases are the least orderly of the three phases of
matter. Gases take the shape of their container
because of the very weak bond between their
atoms. Gases are also very low in density. The
average gas is 1000 times less than that of the
average liquid. The volume of gas varies with
many things including temperature and pressure.
These are explained in Charles’s and Boyle’s laws.
Boyle’s law states that the volume of gas varies
indefinitely with the pressure applied to it.
Charles’s law states that the volume of gas varies
indefinitely with the temperature. Another theory is
the kinetic molecular theory. The kinetic molecular
theory states that any substance composed of
particles is in constant motion. This is especially
true with gases. Gases have been studied since
antiquity but were only understood in the 19th
century. These are the three fundamental phases of
matter. Every substance on earth is one of these
three phases. Some examples of solids are glass,
plastic, and wood. Some examples of liquids are
water, soft drinks, and acid. Some examples of
gases are oxygen, nitrogen, and helium.
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