Matter is defined as any substance that has mass and takes up space. It includes atoms or anything made up of it. Any physical body in the universe be it air, water or galaxies are made up of matter. Matter can exist in three states - solid state, liquid state and gaseous state.

Properties of matter
Matter displays two properties namely mass and volume.

Properties of Matter: Image source:

Solids have a fixed structure. The shape and volume of a solid does not change. This is because in solids, atoms are tightly packed together in a fixed arrangement. Liquids on the other hand are malleable by shape but they do have a constant volume. In liquids, the atoms are close together but not in a fixed arrangement. This is the reason why their shape is flexible. Gases are made up of atoms that are separate. Hence a gas has no fixed shape or volume.

Water can exist in all the three states: in solid as ice, in liquid as water and in gas as vapour.

Plasma is considered as the fourth state of matter and is made up of ionised matter. The atoms in the plasma state are a mixture between a liquid and a gas. They are free to move like liquids and have the weak attraction like in a gas.

Did you know: A Bose-Einstein condensate is a fifth state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperature that is very near absolute zero temperature.

Phase change in matter
Matter can undergo phase changes from one state of matter to another. The phase change happen due to external factors such as change in pressure and temperature. As the pressure and the temperature increases the molecules interact more with each other. As pressure increases or the temperature decreases the molecules and atoms can settle into a more rigid structure. The phase changes are:

A solid can change to liquid. Example: Ice changes to water
A liquid can be frozen to solid. Example: freezing cream into ice cream.
A liquid can change to gas. Example: Water evaporation.
A gas can be condensed into a liquid. Example: Condensation of water vapour into dew drops.
A gas can be converted to solid. Example: Deposition of silver vapour in a vacuum onto to a surface to make solid layer for a mirror.
A solid can be converted to gas. Example: Sublimation of dry ice into carbon dioxide gas.
A gas can be converted to plasma. Example: Ionization of the particles of the upper atmosphere to form aurora.
A plasma can be converted into gas. Example: A neon light.

Properties of Matter are of two types viz. physical and chemical. Physical properties are observable and can be used to describe matter. Chemical properties describe the potential of matter to undergo chemical change.

Physical properties in turn can be classified as intensive and extensive properties. Intensive properties do not depend on the size of the system or amount of material present in the system. These include density, colour, conductivity. Extensive properties change if the amount of matter changes like mass, volume and length.

A physical change in matter is a change where the physical appearance of the matter changes but the composition remains unchanged. It does not entail a change in the molecular composition. A chemical change is a change which alters the composition of the matter.



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