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Why do liquids expand more than solids and gases expand more than liquids? Please,...

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iarora | Student | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted May 27, 2012 at 6:01 PM via web

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Why do liquids expand more than solids and gases expand more than liquids? Please, please, please help!!

Is it because to start with the particles in a liquid are more spread out so when heat is added to them they expand even more?  Please help... got a test.

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM (Answer #1)

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The molecules of a solid are arranged in a tightly-packed, ordered lattice.  The molecules experience some motion, but not much.  It would be fair to say they have a greater attraction between themselves than do the molecules of liquids or gases.  This is what gives matter classified as a solid its physical characteristics of being "solid":  its molecules don't separate from each other.  Liquids, on the other hand, have some attraction for each other, but their molecules are not arranged in the tightly constructed lattice solids have.  A liquid's molecules will have a definite volume, but will assume the shape of the container they occupy.  This is in direct contrast to the molecules of a solid which has both definite volume and definite shape.  The molecules of a gas have no attraction between them whatsoever.  Gases have neither definite volume nor definite shape.  So, seeing the differences between the molecules of solids, liquids, and gases as they occur normally, when you add heat to the mix, it accentuates the properties that already exist  The solids molecules will expand a little, but remain relatively close together, while the liquids molecules will expand even more so.  Gases already have no attraction for each other, so their molecules will experience the greatest expansion.

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cuyler | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM (Answer #2)

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Its all go to to with intermolecular forces. Firstly the particles in a solid are very close together, the particles in a liquid are further apart and in gases they are very far apart. If you heat a liquid like water you are adding heat energy to the water molecules cuasing them vibrate more and if you add enough energy the water changes phases into steam (the gaseous state) to explain my above statement i can say the spaces between the molecules is much larger so it is a gas and therefore takes up more space. The reason that solids expand less when changing to liquids than liquids changing to gasses is because the spaceous difference between particles of a liquid vs a solid is much less then a liquid vs a gas.

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