When looking at the different objects around you, are you able to categorize them based on their physical properties?
There are a lot of things that we are surrounded by at all times. All of these things have mass and volume. Therefore, they are called matter. However, the shapes of all the things are different. Pen, table, and clothes are all things that we can see, but they are different in softness. Water does not have any shape and we can’t even see the air.
So how do all the matters differ? Let’s study the physical characteristics through which we can identify different matters and categorize them accordingly. These are the three states of matter: Solids, liquids, and gasses.
Solids are all those substances that maintain their shape when an outside force is applied. They maintain their shape when the force is removed. It is very difficult to change their shape. Instead of changing shape, they tend to break into pieces of smaller solids.
The particles of solids are very densely packed and the force of attraction on them is very high. That is why solids like rubber bands and balloons come back to their original shape when outside forces are removed.
The Liquid State
Liquids do not have any fixed shape. They only have a fixed volume. They take the shape of the container used to store them. They can flow and change forms.
You must have seen the mixing of two liquids such as milk and water. This shows that two liquids can diffuse easily into each other. Compared to solids, liquids have a greater diffusion rate because their particles are packed less tightly, as compared to the solids.
Aquatic animals living and breathing underwater also tell us that liquids also have dissolved air in them, which helps aquatic animals like fishes to breathe.
The Gaseous State
Gasses do not have any shape or form. They can be collected and stored in cylinders, such as the one we find in our kitchen (Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG) and near a balloon vendor.
The particles of gasses are packed very far away and move very fast. They diffuse other gasses in them easily. This is why we can smell the scent from another end of the room if someone uses perfume at one end and smell the food being prepared in the kitchen from our rooms.
When the fast-moving gas particles hit the walls of a closed container, they exert pressure. As we decrease the size of the container, the pressure that gasses exert also increases.
So, now we know that matter can be classified into solid, liquid, and gas, depending upon their physical properties.
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