• Written By gaurav
  • Last Modified 15-05-2024

The Three States of Matter: Solids, Liquids, and Gases


The Three States of Matter: Anything with mass and occupied space is called ‘Matter’. Matters of different kinds surround us. There are some we can tough, feel and smell, and others we cannot. Different types of matter have unique physical and chemical properties, based on which they are classified.

Matters undergo different stages depending on the change in the conditions to which they are subjected. In this article, we will explore the three states of matter, namely solids, liquids and gases, and understand how they differ.

Classification of Matter

Let us first understand why anything has to be classified into subcategories and how does it help? Classifying things around us based on a set of properties or parameters helps in a systematic study and simplifies the task.

The matter is classified based on the following.

  • Physical State
  • Chemical Properties

In the remaining sections of this article, let us explore the classification of matter in greater detail, along with a few examples of each category.

Classification of Matter Based on the Physical States

The physical state of matter, or anything for that matter, is visible to us, like its size, colour, shape< its movement and so on. The physical state of the matter is decided by a few properties as given below:

  • Inter-particle Space- As the name suggests, it is the space present between two particles of matter.
  • Force of Attraction- This is the force between two particles that binds them together.
  • Kinetic Energy of the Particles- This is due to the motion of the particles.

Based on the properties stated and explained above, matter can be classified into the following.

  • Solids
  • Liquids
  • Gases

Let us proceed to understand how these are different from each other in terms of the parameters. We have tabulated the points for a clear understanding.

  • Solids

Solids have fixed shapes and volumes. This is because the particles are very closely placed and experience a strong force of attraction between them. Wood, Gold, Sand, Steel etc. are some of the examples of solids that we come across in our daily lives.

Here are a few important properties of solids that you must know.

  1. The density of solids is high, which also means they are comparatively heavy.
  2. Solids do not flow from one point to another.
  3. They do not occupy the entire space of the container.
  4. As the attractive force between two solid particles is high, solids have high melting and boiling points.
  • Liquids

Liquids do not have a particular shape and size. They take the shape of the container which holds them. The attractive force between the particles is not as strong as when we see it in solids.

Water, Oil, Milk, and Fruit Juices are some examples of liquids that we come across in our daily lives.

Let us take a closer look at some important properties of liquids.

  1. Liquids have a fixed volume.
  2. Liquids can not be compressed beyond a certain point.
  3. The density of liquids is moderate to high but less than solids.
  • Gases

The particles of a gas are constantly moving. The reason being the attractive force between the particles is negligible or almost zero.

Here is some more information about the properties of gases that is good to know.

  1. Gases are highly compressible.
  2. Gases have no definite shape and take the shape of their container by filling them completely.
  3. Gases can flow and they diffuse.
  4. Gases exert pressure.
  5. The density of gases is low.

As you can see from the above, gases have some unique properties that distinguish them from solids and liquids.

Classification of Matter Based on Chemical Properties

Based on the chemical properties, matter can be classified into:

  • Pure Substances
  • Mixtures

Let us understand more in detail about them.

  • Pure Substances: A pure substance is made up of only one type of particle, which may be an atom or a molecule. Further, a pure substance can either be an element or a compound.

Note: An element is a pure substance made up of only one kind of atom whereas a compound is made up of two or more elements.

Diamond, Water, and Table Salt are some examples of Pure Substances.

  • Mixtures: A mixture can be defined as the type of matter composed of two or more pure substances in varying proportions. Let us take a few minutes to understand a few important properties of mixtures.
  1. There is no chemical force acting between the substances that make up the mixture.
  2. The substances that make up a mixture can be separated using physical methods.
  3. Mixtures can be in any of the states of matter – solids, liquids and gases.
  4. The melting point and boiling point of the mixture depend on the melting and boiling point of the individual substances that make up the mixture.

Classification of Mixtures

A chemical mixture can be classified into homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures depending on the composition of the particles.

  • Homogeneous Mixtures: A chemical mixture in which the different substances are mixed thoroughly so that they can be distinguished, is called a homemade mixture. Examples of homemade mixtures- Sugar Solution, Salt Solution in Water, and Water.
  • Heterogeneous mixtures: A chemical mixture in which the individual substances remain separate, causing a non-uniform composition, is called a Heterogeneous Mixture. Oil in Water, Fruit Juice with Pulp, Sandy Water, etc. are some examples of Heterogeneous Mixtures.

We hope the article was helpful to you in understanding the three states of matter, and their classification based on different parameters along with examples. For more such interesting articles, keep following Embibe.

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