What is State of matter: Definition and 31 Discussions

In physics, a state of matter is one of the distinct forms in which matter can exist. Four states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Many intermediate states are known to exist, such as liquid crystal, and some states only exist under extreme conditions, such as Bose–Einstein condensates, neutron-degenerate matter, and quark–gluon plasma, which only occur, respectively, in situations of extreme cold, extreme density, and extremely high energy. For a complete list of all exotic states of matter, see the list of states of matter.
Historically, the distinction is made based on qualitative differences in properties. Matter in the solid state maintains a fixed volume and shape, with component particles (atoms, molecules or ions) close together and fixed into place. Matter in the liquid state maintains a fixed volume, but has a variable shape that adapts to fit its container. Its particles are still close together but move freely. Matter in the gaseous state has both variable volume and shape, adapting both to fit its container. Its particles are neither close together nor fixed in place. Matter in the plasma state has variable volume and shape, and contains neutral atoms as well as a significant number of ions and electrons, both of which can move around freely.
The term phase is sometimes used as a synonym for state of matter, but a system can contain several immiscible phases of the same state of matter.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. allisrelative

    B Is information the 5th state of matter?

    Recent Science headlines are abuzz about a new theory. Physicists claim information is the fifth state of matter. By 2245, half of Earth’s mass could be converted to digital bits https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/information-fifth-state-matter-0252/ Digital Information Threatens...
  2. A

    Can you change the state of matter by increasing the speed?

    We all know that the state of matter can be changed by increasing temperature or by applying pressure. And, all of these, in some way lead to a change in the particles' speed. The speed of the particle decides the state of matter. So, if we were to throw an object at very high speeds, like 50%...
  3. somasimple

    RedOx Reactions & Phase Changes

    Hi, In electro-chemical cells (galvanic, concentration, etc) or more generally when some RedOx reactions occur in solutes, is there always a phase change? I mean is there always a change in the state of matter from liquid to solid or gas?
  4. T

    Kinetic & Potential Energy of 0° Ice/Water: Examined

    Hi. In all of my question, I mean degrees celsius when I say degree. Think we have a 0 degree ice. we give some energy to it (by a heater) and all of it get into a 0 degree water. How does the kinetic and potential energy of the molecules change? In the book in which I saw this question, it...
  5. fresh_42

    Open problems in mathematical physics

    I came across this beautiful pearl https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.02105 https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.02105.pdf which I like to bring to notice. Despite of its title it is heavier on theoretical physics than it is on mathematics, so I placed it in this forum. I think it is equally interesting to those...
  6. Quantum Velocity

    B Is there any state of matter colder than solid?

    I know that Quark-gluon plasma is the hotter state of matter that we know. Soo is solid the coldest state of matter ? If there is no so sorry for my stupid brain!
  7. S

    States of Matter That Aren't Fluids

    Aside from solids, are any of the known states of matter (exotic or otherwise) considered to not be fluids? As a side note, I'd like to appologize in advance if this turns out to be posted under the wrong category of physics, I could not tell which category this would fall under and this seemed...
  8. C

    Definitive measurement that determines state of matter?

    What is an (the?) empirically demonstrable method used for determining a substance's state of matter? If a new substance was discovered and scientist A said it's solid and scientist B said it's a liquid, how would it be demonstrably proven to be one or the other? The books I have define states...
  9. L

    Does cacao powder form another "state of matter"?

    In another forum someone states that "cacao powder" cannot be considered as a "solid state" since "it cannot sustain shear stresses". Has this statement any basis? -- lightarrow
  10. A

    State of matter in chemical reaction

    Does anybody know where I could find worksheet to practice naming the state of matter in chemical reactions (with answers in the worksheet to check) as I have problems with that. Especially deciding when it is aqueous. I know (well at least i am right) that when you have acid as reactants it has...
  11. H

    State of matter by reversing reaction

    Homework Statement Imagine a hypothetical process in which the methane molecule, CH4, is "expanded," by simultaneously extending all four C−H bonds to infinity. We then have the process: CH4 (g) → C(g) + 4H(g) Compare the reaction for the "expansion" of methane with the reverse of the reaction...
  12. O

    What is the state of matter beyond the critical point?

    Starting from a gas state and reaching the liquid state by getting around the critical point in a p-T phase diagram, what happens (qualitatively) to the molecules (or atoms)? Does a fraction of them start to form bonds? This concept of "indistinguishable" liquid and gas is new to me.
  13. F

    What state of matter are atomic particles in (protons, neutrons, ect.)

    What state of matter are atomic particles be in? A friend of mine suggested they might be virtual particles.
  14. K

    State of matter: Potential Energy - seperation graph

    The graph should look something like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:12-6-Lennard-Jones-Potential.svg (the other information has nothing to do with what I ask though, only the shape of the graph for clarity sake) My question is, does resultant force = 0, or when potential energy is...
  15. G

    Natural State of Matter Rest or Motion?

    Hi, I'm studying Roman culture and civilizations in a course at my university and I'm learning how poets and philosophers argued that the natural state of matter is in motion, that everything is always in motion and never at rest, that there is an empty void that exists between objects and...
  16. B

    Energy as a 5th state of matter?

    Hi, I'm new to particle physics, and recently became a little bit interested in antimatter. einstein said that energy is just matter in a different form. I came to that conclusion on my own even before reading about E=mc squared, and I wonder: could energy be considered a state of matter? I...
  17. P

    Is there some sort of state of matter between a liquid and a gas?

    We've all heard of the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Recently someone told me that there is some sort of state of matter between a liquid and a gas. Does anyone know what he's talking about?
  18. C

    State of matter before a black hole is formed.

    Hi, Judging by the questions and answers, there are obviously many talented physics and astrophysics professionals here. I am not one of these professionals, nevertheless I am interested in this field. So please excuse my naïve questions and thanks for any help answering them. I have been...
  19. S

    Exploring the 5th State of Matter: Supercool or Myth?

    is there a state of matter called the supercool state or something..if yes,can someone please elaborate?..if no,can someone please reply about the states of matter..?
  20. J

    Exploring the Nature of Light: Is it a State of Matter?

    Is Light a State of Matter? This is a question many people have asked for a long time. What is your opinion on this topic? I believe that light IS a state of matter contrary to popular belief. Because all energy needs something to carry it through. I think light is an extremely high energy...
  21. S

    About state of matter and melting point

    Homework Statement Hi all I have conceptual problems : 1. In cold countries, water in pipe lines freezes in winter season. Freezing causes volumetric expansion and may burst the pipes. My question :why freezing causes volumetric expansion? 2. Mostly, substance increases their...
  22. W

    Relationship between pressure, density, temperature, and state of matter

    How do pressure, density, state of matter, and temperature relate? these are my points, are they right?: 1. Higher temperature makes an object less dense 2. Density governs the state of matter for the object, hence as water becomes less and less dense, it becomes gas (water vapour) 3...
  23. Topher925

    Can fire be considered the fourth state of matter?

    While having a discussion with a friend the idea of fire being the fourth state of matter came up, in other words, a hot enough fire or "flame" can be considered plasma being the fourth state of matter. My response to this was, "No, fire or a "flame" is always in the gas phase, fire is the rapid...
  24. S

    Scientists discover exotic quantum state of matter

    A team of scientists from Princeton University has found that one of the most intriguing phenomena in condensed-matter physics -- known as the quantum Hall effect -- can occur in nature in a way that no one has ever before seen. Writing in the April 24 issue of Nature, the scientists report...
  25. wirefree

    Thinker"What Is Fire? Exploring the 4th State of Matter

    If every thing is either 'solid', 'liquid' or 'gas' then what is fire? wirefree
  26. J

    Is there a Limit to How Cold Matter Can Get?

    just wondering how can matter be at a state for absolute 0 (0 kelvin), because it would mean that electrons arent moving , and that they've got no energy. Nothing moving doesn't seem very possible because there's the 4 fundamental forces ( example : how can the gravitational force of an...
  27. R

    Determining State of Matter for a Compound

    Recently, I have been studying for a chemistry placement exam for college. On the sample exam (which I have been studying with), one of the questions asks, "Which of the following substances is a gas at 20 degrees Celsius and one atmosphere of pressure? A.) O3 B.) C C.) I2 D.) Ca...
  28. R

    Solid, Liquid or Gas: Identifying Matter

    How do you know if something is a solid, liquid or gas. Like ferrous iodide or sodium phosphate?
  29. L

    What is the 5th State of Matter? Understanding the Fifth State of Matter

    what is the 5th state of matter can aybody explain it
  30. J

    Find the 7th State of Matter for Extra Credit

    hey guys i need a little help here my introduction to chemistry teacher wants us to find the 7th state of matter for extra credit. I've searched and i can't find it, but if you could provide a little insight or an article that would be wonderful. we know about the bose-einstien and neutron...
  31. B

    Beyond the 5th state of matter?

    I just finshed "Einstein's Cosmos" my Michal Kaku, in this book Dr. Kaku takes about the 5th state of matter or Einstien-Bosen Condinstate, which the book says occurs at extermly low temperatures. I never knew that matter exisited in this form (is it true that einstein-bosen condistate...