What Are The Four States Of Matter?

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taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The four states of matter are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. 

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laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The first three (being the easiest to find on the surface of the Earth) are solids, liquids, and gases. The other would be plasma (most commonly deep in the Earth, and on the surface of the sun). 

  • solids
  • liquids
  • gases
  • plasma
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fact-finder | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The first three states of matter are solid, liquid, and gas. Whether matter appears as a solid, liquid, or gas depends upon the way in which the molecules (particles made by the combination of two or more atoms) are bonded together. In solids, molecules are held together in a rigid structure and move very little. In liquids, molecules are more loosely bonded and move around a fair amount. In gas, the molecules are not bonded to one another and move about freely.

The fourth state of matter is plasma. Plasma is a substance made of ions (electrically charged atoms) and electrons (negatively charged particles) that exists at extremely hot temperatures. Plasma can be found in thermonuclear reactions, such as those which occur on the surface of the sun and other stars, and in fluorescent lights. Plasma forms when the temperature of a gas is raised high enough, and the collisions of atoms become so violent, that electrons are knocked loose from their nuclei.

Sources: Barnhart, Robert K. The American Heritage Dictionary of Science, p. 385; Daintith, John. The Facts On File Dictionary of Physics, p. 154; Trefil, James. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Science, p. 201.

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