Key PointsMatter have the right to exist in among three key states: solid, liquid, or gas.Solid issue is composed of tightly packed particles. A solid will certainly retain that shape; the particles are not complimentary to move around.Liquid matter is made of more loosely packed particles. It will take the shape of the container. Particles deserve to move about within a liquid, but they space packed densely sufficient that volume is maintained.Gaseous issue is written of particles pack so loosely the it has neither a characterized shape no one a defined volume. A gas have the right to be compressed.

You are watching: A liquid takes the volume of its container

TermssolidA substance the retains the size and shape without a container; a substance whose molecules cannot move freely other than to vibrate.gasA substance that can only be had if it is fully surrounded by a container (or hosted together through gravitational pull); a substance who molecules have actually negligible intermolecular interactions and also can relocate freely.liquidA substance the flows and keeps no definite shape due to the fact that its molecules room loosely packed and constantly moving. That takes the shape of that container yet maintains consistent volume.

The three claims of matter are the three distinct physical forms that matter have the right to take in most environments: solid, liquid, and also gas. In excessive environments, other states might be present, such together plasma, Bose-Einstein condensates, and also neutron stars. More states, such together quark-gluon plasmas, are also believed to be possible. Much of the atomic matter of the universe is warm plasma in the type of rarefied interstellar medium and also dense stars.

Historically, the says of matter were distinguished based on qualitative differences in their bulk properties. Heavy is the state in which matter maintains a resolved volume and shape; liquid is the state in which matter adapts come the shape of the container however varies just slightly in volume; and also gas is the state in i beg your pardon matter expands to accounting the volume and shape that its container. Each of this three timeless states of issue can transition directly into either that the other two timeless states.

The says of matterThis diagram shows the nomenclature for the different phase transitions.


A solid’s particles room packed very closely together. The forces in between the corpuscle are strong enough that the particles cannot relocate freely; they have the right to only vibrate. Together a result, a solid has a stable, identify shape and a identify volume. Solids have the right to only change shape under force, as when broken or cut.

In crystalline solids, particles space packed in a regularly ordered, repeating pattern. Over there are countless different decision structures, and also the exact same substance can have an ext than one structure. For example, iron has actually a body-centered cubic structure at temperatures listed below 912 °C and also a face-centered cubic structure in between 912 and 1394 °C. Ice has actually fifteen recognized crystal structures, each of which exists at a different temperature and also pressure.

A solid deserve to transform into a liquid with melting, and also a liquid can transform into a solid v freezing. A solid can also adjust directly into a gas with a process called sublimation.


A fluid is a liquid that conforms come the form of the container but that maintain a nearly continuous volume independent of pressure. The volume is definite (does no change) if the temperature and pressure space constant. Once a solid is heated above its melt point, it becomes liquid because the pressure is higher than the triple suggest of the substance. Intermolecular (or interatomic or interionic) forces are quiet important, but the molecules have actually enough energy to move around, which makes the framework mobile. This method that a fluid is no definite in shape however rather conforms come the shape of the container. Its volume is usually greater than the of its corresponding solid (water is a well-known exception to this rule). The greatest temperature at which a specific liquid deserve to exist is called its critical temperature.

A liquid have the right to be converted to a gas through heating at consistent pressure come the substance’s boiling point or with reduction of push at consistent temperature. This procedure of a liquid an altering to a gas is referred to as evaporation.


Gas molecules have actually either really weak binding or no bonds in ~ all, for this reason they have the right to move freely and also quickly. Due to the fact that of this, not just will a gas conform come the form of that container, that will additionally expand to fully fill the container. Gas molecule have sufficient kinetic energy that the effect of intermolecular forces is little (or zero, for suitable gas), and also they room spaced an extremely far personally from each other; the common distance between neighboring molecules is much better than the dimension of the molecule themselves.

A gas in ~ a temperature listed below its crucial temperature can likewise be dubbed a vapor. A vapor can be liquefied through compression without cooling. The can additionally exist in equilibrium v a fluid (or solid), in which instance the gas pressure equates to the vapor press of the liquid (or solid).

A supercritical liquid (SCF) is a gas whose temperature and pressure are better than the vital temperature and an important pressure. In this state, the difference between liquid and also gas disappears. A supercritical fluid has the physical properties the a gas, however its high density lends it the properties of a solvent in part cases. This have the right to be helpful in several applications. Because that example, supercritical carbon dioxide is supplied to extract caffeine in the production of decaffeinated coffee.

See more: Radioisotopes: What Are They And How Many Neutrons In Uranium 238 U Atom?

Phase transforms – YouTubeWhat go a phase adjust look favor at the molecule level? This video takes a look at the molecular structure of solids, liquids, and also gases and also examines just how the kinetic power of the corpuscle changes. The video clip also discusses melting, vaporization, condensation, and freezing.