A glass hold H20 in three says of matter: ice (solid), water (liquid) and vapor (gas).(Image credit: nikkytok | Shutterstock)
Matter is the "stuff" that provides up the world — every little thing that take away up an are and has mass is matter. 

All issue is comprised of atoms, which are in turn made up of protons, neutrons and also electrons. 

Atoms come with each other to type molecules, which room the building blocks because that all species of matter, follow to Washington State University. Both atoms and molecules are held together through a type of potential energy called chemical energy. Unequal kinetic energy, i m sorry is the power of an object in motion, potential energy is the energy stored in an object. 

The 5 phases the matter

There are 4 natural states of matter: Solids, liquids, gases and plasma. The fifth state is the man-made Bose-Einstein condensates.

You are watching: What state of matter has the highest density


In a solid, particles are packed tightly with each other so lock don"t relocate much. The electrons of each atom are constantly in motion, therefore the atoms have actually a little vibration, yet they are fixed in their position. Since of this, corpuscle in a solid have an extremely low kinetic energy.

Solids have a identify shape, and mass and volume, and do not conform to the form of the container in which they space placed. Solids also have a high density, an interpretation that the particles are tightly packed together. 


In a liquid, the particles are an ext loosely packed 보다 in a solid and also are able to flow about each other, giving the liquid an unknown shape. Therefore, the liquid will certainly conform come the form of that is container.

Much choose solids, liquids (most the which have actually a lower thickness than solids) are incredibly daunting to compress. 


In a gas, the particles have actually a great deal of room between them and also have high kinetic energy. A gas has actually no definite form or volume. If unconfined, the corpuscle of a gas will spread out out indefinitely; if confined, the gas will increase to to fill its container. Once a gas is placed under push by reduce the volume of the container, the room between particles is reduced and also the gas is compressed. 


Plasma is not a typical state the matter here on Earth, but it might be the most common state of issue in the universe, according to the Jefferson Laboratory. Stars are essentially superheated balls of plasma. 

Plasma consists of highly charged corpuscle with very high kinetic energy. The noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon) are frequently used to make glowing indicators by using electrical power to ionize them come the plasma state. 

Bose-Einstein condensate

The Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) was produced by researchers in 1995. Using a combination of lasers and magnets, Eric Cornell and also Carl Weiman, scientists at the joint Institute because that Lab Astrophysics (JILA) in Boulder, Colorado, cooled a sample of rubidium to in ~ a few degrees of pure zero. In ~ this very low temperature, molecular motion comes very close come stopping. Due to the fact that there is nearly no kinetic power being transferred from one atom to another, the atoms begin to clump together. There room no much longer thousands of separate atoms, just one "super atom." 

A BEC is provided to research quantum mechanics on a macroscopic level. Light shows up to slow-moving down together it passes with a BEC, enabling scientists to examine the particle/wave paradox. A BEC likewise has many of the nature of a superfluid, or a liquid that operation without friction. BECs are additionally used to simulate conditions that could exist in black color holes.

Going through a phase

Adding or removing energy from matter causes a physical adjust as issue moves indigenous one state come another. Because that example, including thermal energy (heat) to fluid water reasons it come become heavy steam or vapor (a gas). And removing power from fluid water reasons it to become ice (a solid). Physical alters can additionally be brought about by motion and pressure.

Melting and freezing

When warmth is applied to a solid, its particles start to vibrate faster and also move farther apart. As soon as the substance reaches a certain combination of temperature and also pressure, its melt point, the solid will begin to melt and also turn into a liquid. 

When two claims of matter, such as solid and also liquid, space at the equilibrium temperature and pressure, extr heat included into the mechanism will not reason the in its entirety temperature that the substance to increase until the entire sample get the very same physical state. Because that example, once you placed ice into a glass that water and leave it the end at room temperature, the ice and water will certainly eventually involved the exact same temperature. Together the ice melts from heat coming native the water, it will remain at zero levels Celsius till the whole ice cube melts prior to continuing come warm. 

When heat is removed from a liquid, its particles slow down and also begin to resolve in one location within the substance. As soon as the problem reaches a cool enough temperature in ~ a certain pressure, the freezing point, the liquid becomes a solid.

Most liquids contract as they freeze. Water, however, increases when it freezes into ice, causing the molecules to push farther apart and decrease the density, i beg your pardon is why ice cream floats on optimal of water. 

Adding additional substances, such together salt in water, can alter both the melting and also freezing points. Because that example, including salt to snow will decrease the temperature the water freezes on roads, do it much safer for drivers.

There is likewise a point, well-known as the triple point, where solids, liquids and also gases every exist simultaneously. Water, because that example, exists in all three states at a temperature that 273.16 Kelvin and also a push of 611.2 pascals.


Most liquids contract as soon as they freeze however water expands, making the less dense when it becomes ice. This distinctive characteristic enables ice to float in water, favor this enormous iceberg in Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA/Operation Icebridge)


When a solid is converted directly into a gas without going through a liquid phase, the process is well-known as sublimation. This may take place either as soon as the temperature the the sample is promptly increased beyond the boiling allude (flash vaporization) or when a problem is "freeze-dried" by cooling the under vacuum problems so that the water in the substance undergoes sublimation and also is removed from the sample. A few volatile substances will undergo sublimation in ~ room temperature and also pressure, such as frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice.


Vaporization is the switch of a liquid to a gas and also can occur through one of two people evaporation or boiling.

Because the particles of a liquid room in continuous motion, they commonly collide with each other. Every collision also causes energy to be transferred, and when enough power is transferred to particles close to the surface ar they might be knocked completely away from the sample as free gas particles. Liquids cool together they evaporate due to the fact that the energy transferred to surface ar molecules, which reasons their escape, gets carried away with them.

Liquid boils when sufficient heat is added to a liquid to cause vapor bubbles to kind below the surface. This boiling suggest is the temperature and pressure in ~ which a liquid becomes a gas.

Condensation and also deposition

Condensation occurs when a gas loser energy and also comes together to type a liquid. For example, water vapor condenses right into liquid water.

See more: How To Sing Like Billie Joe Armstrong From Green Day? How To Sing Like Billie Joe Armstrong

Deposition occurs as soon as a gas transforms directly into a solid, there is no going v the liquid phase. Water vapor becomes ice or frost as soon as the air poignant a solid, such as a tongue of grass, is cooler than the rest of the air.

Additional resources:

This post was update on Aug. 21, 2019, by Live science Contributor Rachel Ross.