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Basic Concepts on States of Matter & Type:


The three states of matter; solid, liquid, and gases exhibit different nature of particles. The thermal energy and intermolecular force of attraction between particles determine the physical states of matter.


Here, Thermal energy is the energy between constituent particles of matter in a solid is known as Thermal Energy or Kinetic Energy. It determines the mobility of the molecules and its magnitude increases with an increase in temperature. And hence more the thermal energy, the faster will be the movement of molecules.

The forces between constituent particles of matter are known as Intermolecular Forces. In the solid state, the constituent particles are held such that they can’t move from their position.


Dipole-Dipole forces, London Dispersion forces, and Hydrogen bonding are collectively called Van der Waals Forces.



What is a solid?


A solid is a substance that has a closed tight crystalline configuration with a rigid, fixed shape, and size.
Also, on the basis of type of arrangement, solids are divided into–


  • Amorphous solid 
  • Crystalline solid

The type of arrangement of the constituent particle which is irregular and not fixed is known as Amorphous Solids. Amorphous solids have a tendency to flow slowly,  are also known as Pseudo Solids.
Examples: Glass, Gels, Polymers, etc.

Whereas, the constituent particles that are arranged in a regular way are called crystalline solids. It is also known as True Solids.
Example:  Copper, Iron, Sulphur, Phosphorus, etc.




What are liquids?


In liquids, the intermolecular forces of attraction are much larger than in gases but smaller than solids. Some key properties of liquids are:
Unlike gases, liquids have a definite volume but no definite shape. 


  • The molecules are in constant random motion.  
  • The average kinetic energy of molecules in a given sample is proportional to the absolute temperature.



What is surface tension?


  • The surface tension of a liquid is defined as the force acting at right angles to the surface along a one-centimeter length of the surface. Denoted by letter gamma, γ.
  • Due to this molecules leave the surface.
  • Also, the proper definition of surface tension of a liquid is defined as the work (energy) required to expand the surface of a liquid by unit area.



Units of surface tension – N/m or dynes/cm


An important rule to be followed- 



Trouton’s Rule


It shows the relation between the molar heat of vaporization of a liquid (Joules) and the boiling point of the liquid. The ratio of both is approximately equal to 88. 
ΔHv / Tb.p. = 88 JK–1 mol–1



Sample Questions and Answers on Solids, Liquids & Gases:


Q1. Which of the following is a type of amorphous solid?

a) Gel solid
b) Copper sulfate crystal
c) Glass 
d) Both a and c

Answer – D. Both a and c



Q2. Calculate the surface tension? If 40 Nm of work is done by the liquid on 20 m x 30 m of the liquid surface.

Answer- Given,  work done= 40Nm
With area of surface = 20x30 = 600m2
Using formula


0.066N/m is the applied surface tension 



Q3. The magnitude of thermal energy and intermolecular force of attraction is changing with temperature as-

a) Both increases with temperature
b) One increases but the other decreases and then both increasing after a certain time
c) One increases but the other decreasing with temperature
d) Both decreases with temperature


Answer – C. One increases but the other decreases with temperature.

They have an inverse relation with each other that’s why they follow this trend



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Frequently Asked Questions



What is an example of a solid and a liquid?


Solid has definite shape and definite volume. One of the most common solid is ice.
Liquid has definite volume but indefinite shape, most common liquid is water.


What are the similarities and differences between solids, liquids and gases?



 Difference Similarities
Solid They have definite shape. They are composed of certain particles with least intermolecular distance.
Liquid They acquire the shape of a container.They are composed of certain particles with intermediate intermolecular distance.
GasesThey can diffuse easily.They are composed of certain particles with the largest intermolecular distance.




What happens when you mix a liquid and a solid?


There can be different results when we mix a solid and a liquid-


1. The solid dissolves into liquid and makes a solution. For example- salt in water.
2. The solid is broken into tiny particles and mixing it with liquid forms a gel like a jelly or a sol like milk.
3. The solid is present in small particles and mixing it with liquid forms a suspension like muddy water.
4. The solid is present in large pieces which don’t dissolve into a liquid. For example glass pieces in water.


What solids can turn into liquids?


All the solids can turn into liquids, when they reach their respective melting points.
For example, Ice melts into water. 



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