List of states of matter

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Classically, states of matter are distinguished by changes in the properties of matter related to external factors such as pressure and temperature. States are usually distinguished by a discontinuity in one of those properties: for example, raising the temperature of ice produces a clear discontinuity at 0°C as energy goes into phase transition, instead of temperature increase. The classical states of matter are usually summarised as: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. In the 20th century, increased understanding of the more exotic properties of matter resulted in the identification of many additional states of matter, none of which are observed in normal conditions.

Low-energy states[edit]

Classical states[edit]

  • Solid: A solid holds a definite shape and volume without a container. The particles are held very close to each other
    • Amorphous solid: A solid in which there is no far-range order of the positions of the atoms.
    • Crystalline solid: A solid in which atoms, molecules, or ions are packed in a regular order.
    • Plastic crystal: A molecular solid with long-range positional order but with constituent molecules retaining rotational freedom.
    • Quasi-crystal: A solid in which the positions of the atoms have long-range order, but is not in a repeating pattern.
  • Liquid: A mostly non-compressible fluid. Able to conform to the shape of its container but retaining a (nearly) constant volume independent of pressure.
    • Liquid crystal: Properties intermediate between liquids and crystals. Generally, able to flow like a liquid but exhibiting long-range order.
    • Disordered hyperuniformity: A state similar to a liquid and a crystal in properties. Like a crystal, its particles over large distances exhibit uniform density and are unable to compress. Like a liquid, its particles at smaller distances display the same physical properties in all directions.
  • Gas: A compressible fluid. Not only will a gas conform to the shape of its container but it will also expand to fill the container.
  • Plasma: Free charged particles, usually in equal numbers, such as ions and electrons. Unlike gases, plasmas may self-generate magnetic fields and electric currents, and respond strongly and collectively to electromagnetic forces.

Modern states[edit]

Very high energy states[edit]