PS-3.6 Compare the properties of the four states of matter-solid, liquid, gas, and plasma-in terms of the arrangement and movement of particles.
Key Concepts: Kinetic theory States of Matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma
There are 4 phases of matter, solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas. The real difference between solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas is the heat energy of the particles. For any given substance, the solid phase has particles with the lowest energy. As you read down through the descriptions of the four phases of matter in the chart below, understand that the energy of the particles is increasing. Each new phase consists of particles that contain greater energy than the previous phase.
The particles of solids are closely packed together because there is an attractive force holding them together
The particles of solids are constantly vibrating but they do not slip past one another.
Because the particles can’t slip past one another, a solid cannot be poured, and a solid has a definite shape.
The particles of liquids are in contact with each other because there is an attractive force holding them together.
The particles of liquids are moving fast enough to partially overcome the attractive force of the surrounding particles. Liquid particles can slip past surrounding particles, and slide over one another. Because the particles slip past one another, a liquid can be poured.
The particles of gasses are not in contact with each other because they are moving fast enough to completely overcome the attractive force between or among the particles.
The particles of gasses are moving randomly, in straight lines until they bump into other particles or into the wall of the container. When a particle hits another particle or the container, it bounces off and continues to move.
Because gas particles move independently, a gas takes the shape of the container. The forces between the particles are not strong enough to prevent the particles from spreading into different shapes.
Plasma is matter consisting of positively and negatively charged particles
A substance is converted to the plasma phase at very high temperatures, such as those on stars (such as the sun). High temperature means that the particles of a substance are moving at high speeds. At these speeds, collisions between particles result in the electrons being stripped from the atom
Plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe, found not only on stars, but also in lightning bolts, neon and fluorescent light tubes and auroras.