From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Solids, Liquids, and Gases Introduction

In A Nutshell

All big things are built from smaller things. If we were to literally split hairs again and again, eventually we'd end up with single molecules made up of carbon and a bunch of other elements. If we were to cut up the molecules, we'd get to the really small stuff. Scientists call the smallest stuff an atom. Going backwards, atoms combine with other atoms to form molecules, and molecules combine with other molecules to form states of matter, which is where our story begins.

Matter behaves differently depending on whether it is part of the solid, liquid, or gas phase. The building blocks of matter are called particles and they can be atoms, molecules, or ions. These particles may be ordered or clumped, close together or far apart, moving faster than a cheetah or slower than a turtle. Matter has a way of keeping us on our toes by shape shifting and transforming right before our eyes. In this section, we'll examine the different states of matter and what happens when matter goes from one state to another.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement