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1.1 - 1.2 The three states

 1.1 Introducing the states

Solid, liquid or gas?

Matter can exist in one of three fundamental states: Solid, Liquid or Gas

Here we consider the way in which these three states behave

We see how matter can be converted from one state into another and we introduce the terms used for these changes.

Evaporation, condensation, melting, freezing , sublimation and deposition.

It is important to be able to recall and explain the properties and behaviour of solids liquids and gases.

We also look at the way in which some substances dissolve in others and consider the terms :

Solute, solution, dissolve, soluble, saturated solution 


 1.1 - 1.2 Three fundamental states of matter

The three primary states of matter

 Students should:

1.1 understand the three states of matter in terms of the arrangement, movement and energy of the particles

1.2 understand the interconversions between the three states of matter in terms of:

  • the names of the interconversions
  • the names of the interconversions
  • how they are achieved
  • the changes in arrangement, movement and energy of the particles.

 1.2 Activity 1: Properties of the states

All matter is made up of particles. In solids, liquids and gases, the particles might be ions, molecules or atoms

Watch the first 70 seconds of the video. Use your own words to describe the motion of the particles, the behaviour, shape and volume of a material when it is a :

  • solid
  • liquid
  • gas 
Write your answer using the three bullet points above.  Compare your answer with the one given in the answers tab
  • In a solid the particles vibrate but the solid remains in a fixed shape. The solid has a fixed density and cannot be compressed
  • In a liquid the particles have enough energy to move freely and the liquid can therefore flow. A liquid will take up the shape of the container in which it is placed. The liquid cannot easily be compressed.
  • In a gas the particles are widely spaced and move freely. The gas will fill the container in which it is placed. Gases can be compressed.

Enter your text here ...


 1.2 Activity 2: Name the changes

Can you name processes 1, 2, 3 and 4?
Four changes of state. Which two terms are missing?

Heating a material will give energy to its particles and cause them to move more rapidly. Cooling does the opposite. Heating or cooling can therefore cause a material to undergo a change of state.

With three principal states of matter there are six possible changes depending on whether we are heating or cooling the substances. These are shown in the table below.

Heating Cooling
solid/liquid melting freezing
liquid/gasevaporatingcondensing
solid/gassublimationdeposition
Add arrows and labels to a copy of this image to show the six changes of state discussed in the video and shown in the table


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