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States of Matter

Matter exists in one of four different states.

They are:

A solid object is rigid and it has a definite shape. It does not flow to take on the shape of its container like a liquid. Also it does not expand to fill the space inside a container like a gas. The atoms in a solid are tightly bound to each other.

A liquid does not have a definite shape. It flows to take on the shape of its container but you cannot change its volume by applying or releasing pressure.

Gases flow to fill the space inside a container. Gas particles move around freely because there is not a strong bond between them. Unlike liquids, gases can be compressed. For example you can put more and more air inside a ball and as you do so, the ball's pressure rises.

A plasma can be created by heating a gas or ionizing it with a strong electromagnetic field. Lightning is a natural example of plasma present at Earth's surface. All stars including our very own sun are made of plasma!

You can observe all four states in everyday life. Although Plasma is the most abundant form of "normal" matter in the universe, most elementary students only learn about the other three states of matter.

Use the video and image searches below as well as the articles to learn about different states of matter. This site puts them all in one convenient place for you to research.


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The articles below allow you to access information on states of matter right on the same page. You can scroll down to see each article in full.

States of Matter

States of Matter: Wikipedia Article


Solid: Wikipedia Article


Liquid: Wikipedia Article


Gas: Wikipedia Article


Plasma: Wikipedia Article