Also because of the existence of spin, two objects do not simply blend into one…, …conceiving of both space and matter as continuous and as infused with an active, airlike spirit—pneuma—which serves to unify the frame of nature. Depending on temperature and other conditions, matter may appear in any of several states. Atoms may combine further into molecules such as the water molecule, H2O. All physical objects are composed of matter, in the form of atoms, which are in turn composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Corrections? In the quantum view, elementary particles behave both like tiny balls and like waves that spread out in space—a seeming paradox that has yet to be fully resolved. For detailed treatments of the properties, states, and behaviour of bulk matter, see solid, liquid, and gas as well as specific forms and types such as crystal and metal. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/science/matter, LiveScience - Matter: Definition and the Five States of Matter, matter - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), matter - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The sum of mass and energy remains constant in a closed system. These states can be further categorized into subgroups. At ordinary temperatures, for instance, gold is a solid, water is a liquid, and nitrogen is a gas, as defined by certain characteristics: solids hold their shape, liquids take on the shape of the container that holds them, and gases fill an entire container. They are also not considered "objects" in the traditional sense, as they cannot exist in a stationary state. Solids, for example, may be divided into those with crystalline or amorphous structures or into metallic, ionic, covalent, or molecular solids, on the basis of the kinds of bonds that hold together the constituent atoms. According to the theory of special relativity, matter in a closed system may disappear. States of matter are generally described on the basis of qualities that can be seen or felt. Matter can exist in various phases: solid, liquid, gas, or plasma. This transformation occurs, for instance, during nuclear fission, in which the nucleus of a heavy element such as uranium splits into two fragments of smaller total mass, with the mass difference released as energy. At the most fundamental level, matter is composed of elementary particles, known as quarks and leptons (the class of elementary particles that includes electrons). What is the unit of measure for cycles per second? It will take the shape of its container. At most levels, it's simplest to state simply that matter consists of atoms. There are additional states or phases of matter, including Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, and quark-gluon plasma. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Matter can exist in one of three main states: solid, liquid, or gas. Less-clearly defined states of matter include plasmas, which are ionized gases at very high temperatures; foams, which combine aspects of liquids and solids; and clusters, which are assemblies of small numbers of atoms or molecules that display both atomic-level and bulklike properties. According to the theory of special relativity, matter in … Note that while matter has mass, and massive objects contain matter, the two terms are not exactly synonymous, at least in physics.
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