How do particles behave in the three phases of matter?

1 Answer
May 31, 2014

Particles behave very differently in the three stages of matter.

In the solid state particles are held closely together and vibrate slightly. They exist in a regular arrangement - there is no regular arrangement in the other states.

In the liquid state particles can move - the movement (temperature dependent) tends to be less frantic than in the gaseous state. The particles are still relatively close together.

In the gaseous state, particles move freely at a frantic pace.

The best demonstration of this is #H_2O# (water)

In the solid state (ice) we can quite clearly observe no movement under conditions that favour the state being maintained (i.e. in a freezer)

In the liquid state (water) we can see the movement of the particles by merely shaking a glass with water.

In the gaseous state (steam) we can see the frantic motion of the particles by observing the steam that rises from a kettle when the water reaches boiling point.