Most of us are familiar with the three phases of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Indeed, we addressed the energy changes involved in phase changes. The substance we are probably most familiar with has those three phases: water. In everyday life, we commonly come in contact with water as a solid (ice), as a liquid, and as a gas (steam). All we have to do is change the conditions of the substance—typically temperature—and we can change the phase from solid to liquid to gas and back again. Under the proper conditions of temperature and pressure, many substances—not only water—can experience the three different phases. An understanding of the phases of matter is important for our understanding of all matter. In this chapter, we will explore the three phases of matter.
- 5.1: Prelude to Solids, Liquids, and Gases
- Solid carbon dioxide is called dry ice because it converts from a solid to a gas directly, without going through the liquid phase, in a process called sublimation. Thus, there is no messy liquid phase to worry about. Although it is a novelty, dry ice has some potential dangers. Because it is so cold, it can freeze living tissues very quickly, so people handling dry ice should wear special protective gloves.
- 5.2: Intermolecular Interactions
- A phase is a form of matter that has the same physical properties throughout. Molecules interact with each other through various forces: ionic and covalent bonds, dipole-dipole interactions, hydrogen bonding, and dispersion forces.
- 5.3: Solids and Liquids
- Solids and liquids are phases that have their own unique properties.
- 5.4: Gases and Pressure
- The gas phase is unique among the three states of matter in that there are some simple models we can use to predict the physical behavior of all gases—independent of their identities. We cannot do this for the solid and liquid states. Initial advances in the understanding of gas behavior were made in the mid 1600s by Robert Boyle, an English scientist who founded the Royal Society (one of the world’s oldest scientific organizations).
- 5.5: PhET- States of Matter
- Explore the interactions between various combinations of two atoms. Observe the the total force acting on the atoms or the individual attractive and repulsive forces. Customize the attraction to see how changing the atomic diameter and interaction strength affects the interaction.
- 5.E: Solids, Liquids, and Gases (Exercises)
- Problems and select solutions to this chapter.
Thumbnail: A water drop. (CC BY 2.0; José Manuel Suárez via Wikipedia).