Talk:State of matter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Chemical and Bio Engineering (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Chemical and Bio Engineering, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Chemical and Bio Engineering articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Physics (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Physics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Physics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Rapid Ionization[edit]

I feel that the intro (and possibly picture) should be changed to reflect the fact that even solids can transition directly to plasma with the sudden application of enough energy. For instance, the reason that satellites are often covered in what looks like aluminum foil is to protect it against micro-debris in orbit. A paint fleck orbiting at 8 kilometers a second (and with a frequently even-higher relative velocity) colliding with such foil ionizes instantly from the energy of the collision; once ionized, it becomes conductive, and the foil disperses the energy. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

Also, doesn't plasma sometimes "sublimate" directly into a solid, like the way particles from the solar wind are captured by Lunar regolith? Or is this a completely different process (after all, it changes the chemistry of the materials as Helium absorbs neutrons and becomes Helium 3).

I came to this article looking for info, and don't feel qualified to make changes at the moment. But could someone either confirm or deny that plasma can transition directly to states other than gas and/or the other way around? Once You Go Vatican... (talk) 08:38, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I think part of the issue here is that the state of matter only has a sensible meaning when dealing with systems in thermodynamic equilibrium or slowly changing between states. Anything can turn directly to plasma if hit with enough energy but in the limit of slow change in conditions it will always go via a gas. In the opposite situation of lunar regolith this is basically single ionised atoms hitting the ground so the concept of 'solid/gas/...' does not have any meaning here. (ref rusty memories of my physics degree). Mtpaley (talk) 23:08, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

The simple answer must defenetly be yes, a solid can transition straight into a plasma state, its just a matter of energy applied. High energy laser drilling for example evaporates solids straight into plasma. Very high energy arcs problably have similar effects to materials with low melting points. Its also dependent on the environment pressure. I personally find the term plasma generally difficult to use. If for an instance I extract ions out of a solid tungsten super tip or a drop of liquid indium through field evaporation, I don't generate a plasma, but merely an ion beam. But if I shoot at the ion beam with an electron beam, neutralizing it, I probably could define an area of plasma.

Erroneous links[edit]

I went to click on "phase transitions" in the fourth paragraph and it took me to another page called Phase diagram. It is obvious that this is the wrong page. One: The name is obviously wrong. Two: The phrase Phase transition was found on the page it linked to and apparently linked to the correct page. I was going to change the link but noticed the article was locked. I am not sure why, but this should be addressed. (talk) 19:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I have redirected the two links to phase transition. The article was locked against numbered users because of persistent vandalism. If you want to edit locked articles, you have to register with a username. Dirac66 (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for addressing this. (talk) 21:11, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Center of black hole[edit]

A citation needed flag is set on the section about very high energy states. In my opinion, the requested info makes little or no sense. A gravitational singularty is a property of time and space. So it is not a phase of matter. I don't think any justification is needed for this: on the opposite, a justification would be needed to argue that it has anything to do with a state of matter. The comment that "The horizon of a black hole can be treated as a thermodynamic object" has no relationship to this either, in my opinion. I am goinmg therefore to delete the citation request. --Pot (talk) 09:29, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

we can say but we dont'  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:33, 20 May 2015 (UTC) 

500+ states[edit]

According to [1] doi:10.1126/science.1227224 there should be more than 500 states. -- (talk) 01:25, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Inconsistency; confusing subatomic states of matter with the standard atomic model[edit]

You just cannot talk about plasma in the same context as the standard solid-liquid-gass model. By all means talk about it but it should be clear that this is princibly a subatomc change rather than an atomic structure. But if we are looking at the bigger picture there is no logical reason, in my eyes at least, for the diagrams and the like to focus on a solid-liquid-gass-plasma model and completely ignore every other contrasting subatomic state aside from plasma, such as the Bose–Einstein condensate for example, a entire change to an atoms workings even more apparent than plasma's. Robo37 (talk) 19:46, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

--The reason why plasma is both included and valid is that plasma occurs naturally in the environment, and is in fact THE most common form that visible matter takes in the universe.
"It is often stated that more than 99% of the material in the visible universe is plasma. See, for example, D. A. Gurnett, A. Bhattacharjee (2005). Introduction to Plasma Physics: With Space and Laboratory Applications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-521-36483-3.  and K Scherer, H Fichtner, B Heber (2005). Space Weather: The Physics Behind a Slogan. Berlin: Springer. p. 138. ISBN 3-540-22907-8. . Essentially, all of the visible light from space comes from stars, which are plasmas with a temperature such that they radiate strongly at visible wavelengths. Most of the ordinary (or baryonic) matter in the universe, however, is found in the intergalactic medium, which is also a plasma, but much hotter, so that it radiates primarily as X-rays. The current scientific consensus is that about 96% of the total energy density in the universe is not plasma or any other form of ordinary matter, but a combination of cold dark matter and dark energy."
Certainly other more exotic forms of matter exist, but these are given less prevalence because they are either extremely rare or can only be produced in the laboratory. Spirit469 (talk) 11:49, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Three or four states[edit]

Dear colleagues Spririt and Xantippe, please convene to discuss here before this becomes an edit war.

Can you agree on the following:

(1) For centuries, textbooks talked of three states of matter; this cultural heritage should be properly described.

(2) There are good reasons to consider plasma as a fundamental state of matter on a par with solid/liquid/gas; hence the plasma state should be properly covered.

(3) There is no clear-cut definition of a "fundamental" state of matter. Hence neither three nor four is the sole and full truth.

(4) The introductory sentence "States of matter are the distinct forms that different phases of matter take on" should be reworked to become concise and clear; the relation between state and phase needs to be clarified.

(5) Right now, more than 50% of the introduction is about plasmas; this is an unwanted side effect of the nascent edit war, and needs to be corrected soon.

Hoping for good collaboration, and a happy new year to everyone -- Nsda (talk) 10:10, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, the intro now describes solid, liquid and gas by macroscopic properties only as the molecular (or microscopic) description has recently been remvoed, but plasma is described as a conductor AND in terms of electrons removed from atoms. The microscopic description of the other three states should be removed. [I meant restored Dirac66 (talk) 21:52, 7 January 2013 (UTC)]
And I disagree with the claim that there are only four states which normally occur in our environment. In my house I see at least three more states - glass windowpanes, liquid crystal digital clock displays, and refrigerator magnets. Dirac66 (talk) 13:04, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Nsdal, I agree with all 5 of those statements. Dirac66, your comments also bring up a number of valid points. The description of each state ought to be consistent throughout the article, and the claim "normally occur" does not hold up. I will change normally to "naturally", but if someone else can find a better definition than that then by all means include it. As far as glass (an amorphous solid) and magnets, are not these considered "solid"? The description of "solids" should either focus less on crystalline solids, or should include other forms of solid matter in its description. Or, perhaps we could make additional categories for the substates of solids, liquids, etc. Let me know your thoughts, everyone. Spirit469 (talk) 13:48, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
A glass is a solid, but it has no well defined melting point; near the glass transition you cannot tell whether it is solid or liquid. Think of butter or honey.
Another point not adequately covered in the article that shows the limitations of the classical concept of three states: at high pressure, there is no more phase transition between a liquid and a gas.
Further examples that defy the classical three-states concept: soft matter like rubber, cell membranes, gels, colloids, ...
In contrast, magnets are just solids. Here I see no problem. Phase transitions within the solid state should be mentioned, but they do not invalidate the concept of a "solid". -- Nsda (talk) 17:03, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
No, glasses have no well-defined melting temperature, but plasmas also have no well-defined onset temperature. However most authors do consider both glass and plasma to be distinct states of matter. In contrast liquid crystals, magnetic phases and superconductors do have well-defined transition temperatures. So this may not be an accepted criterion for deciding what is a state of matter.
So what is the correct criterion if any? Wikipedia is supposed to be based on sources, especially when informed editors do not agree. I think someone has to start checking some textbooks to find out which states are usually included in their lists. And if there is no consensus on state X, then we should be neutral (see WP:NPOV) and mention sources that include X as a distinct state of matter, and other authors that do not. Dirac66 (talk) 17:32, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
According to the Amorphous solid page, glass is a special case of an amorphous solid. "In part of the older literature, the term has been used synonymously with glass. Nowadays, "amorphous solid" is considered to be the overarching concept, and "glass" the more special case: A glass is an amorphous solid that transforms into a liquid upon heating through the glass transition.[1] Other types of amorphous solids include gels, thin films, and nanostructured materials." This statement has a source attached to it. Therefore, it seems logical to me to include states that are crystalline solids and noncrystalline(amorphous) solids as substates of solid, and glass as a substate of amorphous solids. Let me know your thoughts. Spirit469 (talk) 01:50, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Although indeed, there may be sources that say otherwise, so if so then we must include both perspectives. We definitely need more sources.Spirit469 (talk) 02:08, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
We could group the various amorphous solids together as this source suggests, with glass first as it is the oldest known. Grouping all the solids together is more problematic, as there are not only crystalline and amorphous but also oriented (liquid crystal) phases, magnetically ordered phases, etc. Best to check more sources and see how (and if) they organize the various states. Then suggest a possible new table of contents here on the talk page.
Also I think that if a state is only mentioned in some sources, it can be included in the article. The fact that an author does not discuss state X does not imply that s/he considers that it is not a state, unless s/he explicitly says so. Dirac66 (talk) 02:53, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. What I had meant was to group amorphous solids together in one category, crystalline solids together in another category, and so on, but still emphasize that all these subcategories could also be generally understood as being solids. Of course, we will need more sources, but that was my general line of thought. Spirit469 (talk) 04:08, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I have found a source (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help), from the University of Utah, that lists amorphous and crystalline as two subcategories of a solid. It also sheds some light as to why the chemical and bioengineering wiki project would be interested in this article; it has implications for the creation of pharmaceutical drugs. Spirit469 (talk) 04:17, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I have found a 2nd source (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help) that focuses exclusively on amorphous solids and discusses many of their properties. It appears to be interested in their properties for their pharmaceutical applications.Spirit469 (talk) 04:35, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I have found a 3rd source (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help), published by the department of physics of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. It claims that "all matter can be subdivided into two states-solid and fluid". The paper focuses mainly on describing the solid state, and appears to do a very good job of it. It says that solid matter favors the crystalline structure, but other types of solids can form under various conditions. It looks promising. Please let me know your thoughts on these 3 sources. Spirit469 (talk) 04:42, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

We especially need to find a source that gives a precise definition for what a "state of matter" actually is. But, the idea of only two main categories (solid and fluid), would appear to make sense, with all others being subcategories. But we still need a precise definition. Please let me know your thoughts. Spirit469 (talk) 04:57, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Also, we should probably include a section about Colloids(substances with one phase suspended in another), as otherwise it would be impossible to explains substances like whipped cream or jello.Spirit469 (talk) 06:19, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I fully agree that problems like ours are best resolved by using reputable sources. By which I understand widely used textbooks. I would rather not use PDFs found somewhere in the web - how would you know that the author has done more than just a little theory finding of his own. Maybe he even relied on Wikipedia, so that our reliance on external "sources" would be no more than a circular illusion. So, what we need is a volunteer who is going to spend one hour or two in a decent university library. -- Nsda (talk) 09:02, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Atkins, Physical Chemistry, since decades a standard textbook devotes just few sentences to the three classical "states of matter" one finds upon "casual inspection", only to lead over to the concept of phases. - This can explain our difficulties: "states of matter" as a scientific concept is outdated, made obsolete by the inconsistencies we stumbled upon; it is an unscientific daily-life notion, and should be described as such. -- Nsda (talk) 09:13, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Btw, this is one more reason not to use PDFs found by web search: Such a search creates a bias by returning only texts that take the concept of "states of matter" seriously, while ignoring authors that consider this concept obsolete. -- Nsda (talk) 09:13, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. When I return to University in a few weeks I will search for additional texts in the material science department to hopefully get more information on the subject. If I recall, MIT has recently discovered a new "state of matter"(Quantum spin liquid), so perhaps someone from there might be able to provide a more precise definition.Spirit469 (talk) 09:23, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 January 2014[edit]

See also[edit]

Flukeedit (talk) 11:47, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Done by Dirac66 via this edit. Just noting this here. --Anon126 (talk - contribs) 00:05, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Liquid state definition[edit]

When the article defines what a liquid state is, it mentions "This means that the shape of a liquid is not definite but is determined by its container.". This is, in my opinion, not quite correct. The shape of a liquid is determined by many factors, which may or may not be a container. Just think about a globe of water in space, its shape is clearly determined by the surface tension (and lack of significant gravity) and not a container. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

The definition is correct. What you point out is that it is not complete, as it doesn't specify what happens when there is no container and no gravity. If there are reliable sources that make the same point, we can add it. Paradoctor (talk) 16:02, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Merge with Phase (matter)?[edit]

I don't see the reason for having two articles about almost the same thing. To me it seems like the only difference between a phase of matter and a state of matter is that a state is something a material is currently in, and is therefore a function of time, whereas a phase is a potential state that the material either is currently in or can be transitioned into, and is not a function of time but is constantly a potential state. Is that correct? If so, we should merge the two articles into one, and we could just explain the difference between the two in a fashion similar to the explanation I just gave. —Kri (talk) 20:50, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose For a discussion of the differences between the two concepts, please read the second paragraph of the lead of phase (matter). For example, a colloid is in a state of matter that is not a phase. Roughly speaking, states of matter are macroscopically homogenous, whereas phases are microscopically homogenous. Paradoctor (talk) 21:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Oppose A state of matter is a type of organization of the matter, so all liquids are the liquid state. But a phase is a homogeneous region of a system, so there can be two or more liquid phases in the same system. For example, a beaker containing 3 immiscible liquids such as oil, water and mercury has 3 phases but only 1 state of matter. Other examples are given in Phase (matter). Dirac66 (talk) 23:15, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Ah, okay, thanks for the explanations. I removed the merge tag in both articles. —Kri (talk) 10:38, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

QGP "discovery"?[edit]

"Quark–gluon plasma was discovered at CERN in 2000." That's quite a strong statement. There's been an announcement, but talking about a QGP "discovery" at the SPS seems a bit wrong since even RHIC/ALICE are cautious with such statements (as noted in the QGP article). JocelynMlynarz (talk) 11:27, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 14 May 2015[edit]

There has recently been a newly discovered state of matter, called the "Jahn Teller effect" which I wanted to implement into this article, the semi protected nature of the article however did not allow for that. For this reason I am sending this editorial request to inform you about the update this article now needs, here is a scientific article about this newly discovered state of matter: Jason Neu (talk) 07:07, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Please use reliable sources ([2] is not an authority in physics) and wait until this discovery is widely recognized by the scientific community, not by journalists who pick up attractive news. Materialscientist (talk) 07:10, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 9 July 2015[edit]

The comprehensibility of the second sentence of this entry could be greatly improved by adding two commas. I've added them below to the specified sentence

"Many other states are known, such as Bose–Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter, but these only occur in extreme situations such as ultra cold or ultra dense matter."

Just read he formatting rules, so in proper form. Please change

"Many other states are known such as Bose–Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter but these only occur in extreme situations such as ultra cold or ultra dense matter."


"Many other states are known, such as Bose–Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter, but these only occur in extreme situations such as ultra cold or ultra dense matter." (talk) 09:42, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Cannolis (talk) 09:58, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 March 2016: superionic state[edit]

Add another bullet under "Other proposed states": Heading: "Superionic" Possible main article: [see, for example,] [could be others] Text: A superionic state has some atoms frozen in place, as in a solid, while others are mobile, as in a liquid. For example, in the theoretical superionic state of water [link above], the oxygen atoms form a solid crystalline lattice while the hydrogen ions roam freely through the lattice. JR Rygg (talk) 21:50, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template.  B E C K Y S A Y L E 07:15, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 27 December 2016[edit]

In Quark Matter section, I believe

At high densities but relatively low temperatures, quarks are theorized to for a quark liquid whose nature is presently unknown. It form a distinct color-flavor locked (CFL) phase at even higher densities.

should be changed to

At high densities but relatively low temperatures, quarks are theorized to form a quark liquid whose nature is presently unknown. It forms a distinct color-flavor locked (CFL) phase at even higher densities.

(there are two typos: for -> form in first sentence and form -> forms in second). Piotr Zaborski (talk) 10:08, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

Done Thank you for pointing that out! regards, DRAGON BOOSTER 10:49, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 February 2017[edit]

The image's purpose was to illustrate the 4 most common sates of matter, but a cloud is used to represent gas, a cloud is made of ice cristals. It should be changed to something else, such as chlorine gas which is visible Mar919191 (talk) 10:15, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — Sam Sailor 00:21, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I think the request is clear. The specific change would be "change the first image in the article (The four fundamental states of matter) so that the picture of a cloud is replaced by a picture of chlorine gas (or another colored gas)".Dirac66 (talk) 00:41, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Note that the description states that "air around clouds" is an example of gas, not clouds themselves. I agree, however, that a picture of a cloudy sky can reinforce a misconception that clouds are made of vapor, for those that do not read the description. Piotr Zaborski (talk) 13:00, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 March 2017[edit]

I would like to request the inclusing of the newly confirmed Time-Crystals as a new state of matter. With the latest scientific issues published, the scientific community starts to recognise and identify Time-Crystal more and more commonly as another state of matter. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] It has already been included in the List of states of matter, so it should also be incuded here. Asragin 2A02:8071:2388:8300:E1E9:62E:7173:1426 (talk) 08:47, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Do we allow a periodically driven type of matter to qualify as a "state of matter"? Time-crystal has been getting a lot of "hype" in the media, but I'm not sure if it is agreed upon as a state of matter. Further, despite two nice experiments, neither of these is really a "time crystal" in the ideal sense of the word due to various differences between the experiment and the predictions.



I highly recommend removal of "dropleton". This is not a stable phase of matter and has only even been studied in one paper. There is not even sufficient evidence to declare this to be real much less to declare that it is a new state of matter? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Rydberg Matter?[edit]

Similarly with Rydberg matter. I think a molecule should not count as a "state of matter". Rydberg molecules is just two atoms in a very highly excited bound state. Usually we reserve the term matter to consist of many many particles. If you say, 'yes but you could put together many of these molecules to make matter', I would say, how is this different from a simple gas?


I think there is a tendency for every research group to declare whatever they are working on to be a new "state of matter". However interesting the things they work on are, we should resist the urge to certify everything as another state of matter

Subhead "non-classical states" shows need for a statement re: "the classical states"[edit]

The "three or four" discussion above notwithstanding (much of its concerns have been addressed), an omission remains. Because a section of this article is titled "non-classical states", there should be a statement somewhere of the "classical states". This statement should probably appear in the introduction. Otherwise, the "non-classical" section should be renamed, or, somewhat awkwardly, the "classical states" should be explained in the "non-classical" section. Bob Enyart, Denver KGOV radio host (talk) 17:22, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 5 July 2017[edit] (talk) 12:17, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Izno (talk) 12:29, 5 July 2017 (UTC)