States of matter and properties of matter

Are states of matter specific patterns in which the constituents of matter are grouped. The properties of matter , on the other hand, are the set of qualities that matter presents and that characterizes it.

Matter is defined as that which has mass, occupies space and is composed of atoms and molecules, which are, in turn, matter.

States of the materialProperties of matter
DefinitionForm of organization or packaging of the atoms or molecules of a substance or body.Qualities of a substance or body determined by its chemical and physical structure.
TypesThere are five states: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, and Bose-Einstein condensate.There are multiple properties: physical, chemical, inclusive, exclusive.
ExamplesAt 0ºC ethyl alcohol is liquid and water is solid.The mass, the volume, the melting point, the thermodynamic stability.

What are the states of matter?

The states of matter refer to the way in which its constituent molecules are organized. They are also known as states of matter aggregation .

There are five states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, and Bose-Einstein condensate. A phase change is established when one state of matter transforms into another. For example, when a solid becomes a liquid (melting) or the liquid becomes a solid (solidification).


A solid has a definite shape and volume, since its molecules are tightly packed, which limits movement between them.

Examples of solids are seen in rocks, wood and metals when they are at room temperature. Water at temperatures below 0 ºC is in a solid state.


A liquid has a defined volume and takes the shape of the container in which it is contained. Molecules in liquids are grouped together in such a way that they can move more freely, compared to solids.

Examples of the liquid state at room temperature are water, mercury, oil, and alcohol.


In gases, the molecules or atoms are scattered in the space that limits them. They do not have a defined volume or shape, that is, they acquire the shape and volume of the container where they are contained.

Examples of gases at room temperature are in air, which is a mixture of gaseous elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.


Plasma is produced when a gas receives a large amount of energy, which causes the release of its electrons. Like gases, plasma has neither a definite shape nor a definite volume.

Examples of plasma are found in stars, rays, fluorescent lights and neon signs.

Bose-Einstein Condensate

A Bose-Einstein condensed state is achieved when a group of atoms is cooled to almost absolute zero (-273 ° C). At this point, the atoms are practically not moving relative to each other, behaving as if they were a single atom.

Examples of the Bose-Einstein condensed state were hardly achieved experimentally in the 1990s. Many of these experiments use laser-cooled rubidium atoms.

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What are the properties of matter?

The properties of matter are those qualities or attributes of matter that depend on its chemical composition and physical structure . These properties can be physical, chemical, intensive or extensive.

Physical properties

They are those measurable qualities that do not involve modification of the chemical structure of matter. Elasticity, temperature, volume, and boiling point are examples of physical properties.

Chemical properties

They encompass those qualities that can only be observed when there are changes in the chemical structure. Examples of chemical properties are reactivity, flammability, toxicity, and thermodynamic stability.

Intensive properties

They are those properties that do not depend on the quantity of matter. For example, the density of a material does not change even if we have 1 kilogram or 10 grams of the same material.

Extensive properties

They are those physical properties that change when modifying the amount of matter, such as, for example, volume and mass.

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Examples of properties of matter

The different properties of matter serve to identify and classify materials. Let’s look at some examples.

Chemical stability

The ability of matter to react under certain conditions determines its chemical stability. We have, for example, the noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon and oganeson) which are the least reactive elements in the periodic table. On the other hand, the alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium and francium) react strongly in the presence of water.


The ease with which you can transform a material into sheets without breaking it is a physical property known as malleability. For example, coal is not malleable, because when struck with enough force it breaks into pieces. Instead, an ounce of gold (28.35 g) can be spread on a 91 m 2 sheet .

Specific heat

Specific heat is an intensive physical property that indicates the amount of heat required to increase the temperature by one degree centigrade of a kilogram of material. For example, the specific heat of gold is 129 Joules / ºC per kg, that of sodium chloride is 864 Joules / ºC per kg.

This means that it takes seven times as much heat to raise the temperature of salt by one degree compared to gold. Which means that gold heats up faster than salt.

Electric charge

Charge is the physical property that determines the interaction forces of matter in an electromagnetic field. There are positive, negative or neutral charges. Like charges oppose and different charges attract.

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