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States and Matter and Chemical Cycles Index
THE LANGUAGE OF CHEMISTRY
States of Matter
The three states of matter are solid, liquid and gas.
The state of a pure substance at any given time will depend on the temperature.
If we take water as an example:
The molecules of water are arranged close together in the ice crystal structure. Each molecule vibrates slightly but is held in place by the molecules around it.
As ice receives thermal energy the molecules vibrate more. Eventually they vibrate enough to break free of the ice structure. This is melting and results in liquid water.
The water molecules are held close to each by attraction. The forces of attraction between the molecules are called "hydrogen bonds".
If more thermal energy is introduced the molecules gradually gain enough energy to break away from the "hydrogen bonds" holding them together. The molecules at the surface of the water move into the air as water vapour. The molecules move freely in the air.
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