Matter, States of (Encyclopedia of Science)
Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. The term refers to all real objects in the natural world, such as marbles, rocks, ice crystals, oxygen gas, water, hair, and cabbage. The term states of matter refers to the four physical forms in which matter can occur: solid, liquid, gaseous, and plasma.
The kinetic theory of matter
Our understanding of the nature of matter is based on certain assumptions about the particles of which matter is composed and the properties of those particles. This understanding is summarized in the kinetic theory of matter.
According to the kinetic theory of matter, all matter is composed of tiny particles. These particles can be atoms, molecules, ions, or some combination of these basic particles. Therefore, if it were possible to look
at the tiniest units of which a piece of aluminum metal is composed, one would be able to observe aluminum atoms. Similarly, the smallest unit of a sugar crystal is thought to be a molecule of sugar.
(The entire section is 1251 words.)
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