Solids - Liquids - Gases
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The form in which matter can exist includes solid, liquid, gas and plasma. The main difference in the structure of each state is the density of the particles. Solids are often hard. Liquids are able to fill containers. And gases surround us in the air. Each of these states is also known as the phase. Elements and compounds can move from one state to another when their physical conditions change. When the temperature of the system goes up the matter in the system becomes more excited and active. If you have a glass of water, for example, when the temperature goes up the molecules get excited and bounce around. If you give it enough energy it will become a gas. The extra energy allows the molecules to change states. Plasmas are highly energized gases that have lost their electrons and include stars and the sun.
Atoms are the basis for everything in the universe because all matter is composed of atoms. Solids are made up of densely packed atoms and gases have atoms that are more spread out. There are three basic parts of an atom: electrons, protons and neutrons. Electrons are the smallest of the three particles that make up atoms. Electrons are found in the shells, or orbitals, that surround the nucleus of an atom. Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus. They group together in the center of the atom. Each unique element has an atomic number equal to the number of protons it contains. Atoms can join together to form molecules which in turn form most of the objects around you. Different elements like oxygen and carbon contain different kinds of atoms. The atomic mass number is equal to the number of protons plus neutrons together.
The States of Matter Games