# Which Phase Can Withstand a Force?

• spark693
In summary, all phases of matter are capable of withstanding a force perpendicular to their surface, but the degree to which they can do so depends on their compressibility. So, the correct answer is D.
spark693

## Homework Statement

Which of the following phases is capable of permanently withstanding a force perpendicular to its surface?

A. Gas
B. Liquid
C. Solid
D. All of the above

## The Attempt at a Solution

I understand that the answer is D.
However, what does it mean to withstand a force? if a gas is in a cylinder with a moveable piston, and then a mass is placed on the piston, the gas would be compressed. So I'm not sure what an example of a gas withstanding a perpendicular force would be.

Actually, technically all matter is and must be "compressed" in order to withstand a force. The molecules in a substance (whatever physical state it is in) need to transmit the force down to it's container or supports. This is achieved by squeezing the molecules closer together since the repulsive force between atoms increases as they get closer together.

A gas is just more compressible than a liquid which in turn is more compressible than a solid. Sometimes to simplify the mathematics we assume a gas or liquid or solid is "incompressible" which simply means that the change in volume is small enough that we can safely neglect it without losing accuracy.

1 person

## What is a phase?

A phase refers to a distinct state of matter that a substance can exist in, such as solid, liquid, or gas.

## Which phase can withstand a force the best?

Solids are generally considered to be the most resistant to external forces due to their tightly packed molecules and strong intermolecular forces.

## Can liquids withstand a force?

Yes, liquids can withstand a force, but they are not as resistant as solids. Liquids can flow and change shape when a force is applied to them.

## What factors determine a phase's ability to withstand a force?

The molecular structure and intermolecular forces of a substance are the main factors that determine its ability to withstand a force. The stronger the intermolecular forces, the more likely the substance is to resist a force.

## Is there a phase that can withstand all forces?

No, there is no phase that can withstand all forces. Each phase has its own properties and limitations when it comes to withstanding forces.

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