What is matter: matter is made of atoms. Atoms are the smallest particle of matter. They are so small that you cannot see them with your eyes or even with a standard microscope. A standard sheet of paper is about a million atoms thick. Matter is the air you are breathing. Matter is the computer you are reading from now. Matter is the stuff you touch and see. And it is more. Matter is defined as anything that has mass and takes up space.
STATES OF MATTER AND THEIR PROPERTIES.
Some states(phases) of matter are;
1. SOLIDS: Solids hold their shape at room temperature. The pencil that you left in the desk at school will still be the same shape when you return tomorrow.
Even in solids there is a small space between the atoms. Depending on how tight the atoms are packed determines the density matter. This means that a one inch block of wood is not as dense as a one inch block of gold. There is more space between the atoms of the wood than the atoms of the gold.
2. LIQUIDS: Liquids do not hold their shape at room temperature. There is space between the atoms of a liquid and they move slightly all of the time. This allows you to stick your finger into water and pull it back out, letting the water fill back in where your finger once was. When a solid is heated above its melting point, it becomes liquid, given that the pressure is higher than the triple point of the substance.
3.GASES: A gas is a compressible fluid. Not only will a gas conform to the shape of its container but it will also expand to fill the container.In a gas, the molecules have enough kinetic energy so that the effect of intermolecular forces is small (or zero for an ideal gas), and the typical distance between neighboring molecules is much greater than the molecular size. A gas has no definite shape or volume, but occupies the entire container in which it is confined. A liquid may be converted to a gas by heating at constant pressure to the boiling point, or else by reducing the pressure at constant temperature.
4. PLASMA: Plasma does not have definite shape or volume. Unlike gases, plasmas are electrically conductive, produce magnetic fields and electric currents, and respond strongly to electromagnetic forces. Positively charged nuclei swim in a “sea” of freely-moving disassociated electrons, similar to the way such charges exist in conductive metal. In fact it is this electron “sea” that allows matter in the plasma state to conduct electricity. Lightning, electric sparks, fluorescent lights, neon lights, plasma televisions, some types of flame and the stars are all examples of illuminated matter in the plasma state.
5. Bose-Einstein condensates: In 1995, technology enabled scientists to create a new state of matter, theBose-Einstein condensate (BEC). Using a combination of lasers and magnets, Eric Cornell and Carl Weiman cooled a sample of rubidium to within a few degrees of absolute zero. At this extremely low temperature, molecular motion comes very close to stopping altogether. Since there is almost no kinetic energy being transferred from one atom to another, the atoms begin to clump together. There are no longer thousands of separate atoms, just one “super atom.” A BEC is used to study quantum mechanics on a macroscopic level. Light appears to slow down as it passes through a BEC, allowing study of the particle/wave paradox. A BEC also has many of the properties of a superfluid — flowing without friction. BECs are also used to simulate conditions that might apply in black holes.