States of matter. Solid, liquid and gas

What do you know about the states of matter? Do you know them all?

The online states of matter simulations on this page visualize the behavior of matter at the molecular level in the three most common states of matter: solid, liquid and gas.

The online states of matter simulations on this page visualize the behavior of matter at the molecular level in the three most common states of matter: solid, liquid and gas.

The states of matter are the forms in which matter appears and can be classified. The most common states are solid, liquid and gas, but there are also other, less well-known states, such as plasma and the Bose-Einstein condensate.

In the solid state, the particles that make up matter are tightly bound together and have an ordered structure. The atoms, ions or molecules in a solid are held in fixed positions and have only vibrational motions. Solids have a definite shape and volume.

In the liquid state, the particles have a less ordered structure and are farther apart than in the solid state. The particles can move freely, although they are still in contact with each other. Liquids have a defined volume, but do not have a defined shape and take the shape of the container that holds them.

In the gaseous state, the particles are widely separated and move in a disorderly and rapid manner. They have no fixed structure and occupy the entire available volume of the container in which they are found. Gases have no definite shape and expand to completely fill the available space.

Plasma is a state of matter found at high temperatures or under high energy conditions. In plasma, the atoms are ionized, i.e., the electrons are separated from the nuclei. Plasma is highly electrically conductive and is present in phenomena such as lightning and in the interior of stars.

The Bose-Einstein condensate is an exotic state that occurs at temperatures very close to absolute zero. In this state, a large number of particles behave as if they were a single particle, giving rise to collective quantum phenomena.

These different states of matter have different properties and can be transformed from one to another by changes in temperature and pressure. Understanding the states of matter is fundamental to physics and chemistry, as they affect many properties and processes in our everyday environment and in the universe in general.

Below are several simulations and other educational resources, which can also serve as very illustrative examples. In addition, a selection of books and courses is included to help you broaden your knowledge of this subject.

Molecules in a solid

Molecules in a solid can vibrate but without changing their position. What is the relationship between temperature and the kinetic energy of the molecules? Change the temperature to find out.

Molecules in a liquid

Las moléculas de un líquido pueden cambiar su posición, pero el volumen del líquido no cambia.

Molecules in a gas

The molecules of a gas move at high speed in any direction. What determines the volume of the gas?

States of Matter

Look at the different types of molecules that make up a solid, liquid, or gas. Add or remove heat and see the phase change. Change the temperature or volume of a container and see a pressure-temperature diagram change in real time. Relate the interaction potential of forces between molecules.


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General chemistry


General Chemistry I: Atoms, Molecules, and Bonding


Big Bang and the Origin of Chemical Elements




From Atoms to Materials: Predictive Theory and Simulations


Microstructural Evolution of Materials Part 1: Statistical Mechanics


Microstructural Evolution of Materials: Surfaces and Surface-Driven Reactions


Microstructural Evolution in Materials: Phase Transformations


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