Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

8: States of Matter and the Gas Laws

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    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 picture on this page shows the substance we are probably most familiar with as having 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.

    • 8.1: Phase Changes
      A phase change is a physical process in which a substance goes from one phase to another. Usually the change occurs when adding or removing heat at a particular temperature, known as the melting point or the boiling point of the substance. The melting point is the temperature at which the substance goes from a solid to a liquid (or from a liquid to a solid). The boiling point is the temperature at which a substance goes from a liquid to a gas (or from a gas to a liquid).
    • 8.2: Solids, Liquids, and Gases
      Solids and liquids are collectively called condensed phases because their particles are in virtual contact. The two states share little else, however.
    • 8.3: 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. In fact, the development of this understanding of the behavior of gases represents the historical dividing point between alchemy and modern chemistry.
    • 8.4: Gas Laws
      Experience has shown that several properties of a gas can be related to each other under certain conditions. The properties are pressure (P), volume (V), temperature (T, in kelvins), and amount of material expressed in moles (n). What we find is that a sample of gas cannot have any random values for these properties. Instead, only certain values, dictated by some simple mathematical relationships, will occur.
    • 8.5: Chapter Summary

    8: States of Matter and the Gas Laws is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?