*walks into view with a big green balloon and a giant grin*
Hey there! Lookit, I got a balloon! *pokes balloon with finger* It's floaty...
...*ahem* Anyway...uh, I didn't get this ballon for me, oh no *shifty eyes* I got it to help with our next phase of matter - gas! When I say gas maybe you think of that station down the road where your car gets pumped full of gas? Or maybe you think of, well, flatulent gasses. Unfortunately, the gas we're considering today is more like flatulent gas than petroleum gas...but not all of it stinks so bad.GAS
What is a gas? Gas is the next phase of matter. So far we've covered solids gaining more energy to melt into liquids. So what would happen if we gave liquids a bit more energy until they evaporate? They become even less dense, and turn into gasses. So lets look at the molecular structure of gas. It's atoms are all whizzing around at high speeds, not necessarily flowing around each other, but any which way they please. They have so much energy, they float, essentially defying gravity. That's a gas.
We are made of solids. We need water, a liquid, to survive. But in fact, the thing we need the most, and the thing we interact with the most is a gas - air. Air isn't actually a gas in and of itself. It's a composite - mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with argon, and carbon dioxide making up most of the rest. Next to all those, are trace elements. Elements you only find in tiny fractions in the atmosphere(including, but not limited to neon, methane, hydrogen, and ozone.). All these together make up the air around us, the most important thing in our lives. Humans can go weeks without eating. Days without water. Only minutes without air. Water is what keeps our body running smoothly - our oil. Air is what gives us oxygen, a substantial part of how our bodies create and convert energy. Without it, we just can't survive.
Gasses, as far as I know have no real phases within themselves. They're just gasses. Oxygen is a gas, fluorine is a gas, carbon monoxide is a gas, and nitrous oxide(laughing gas) is a gas.
A gas, when you remove energy and it cools down, becomes a liquid through condensation. So we've got part of the picture:
Increasing energy: Solid -Melts into> Liquid -Evaporates into> Gas
Decreasing energy: Gas -Condenses into> Liquid -Freezes into> Solid
But did you know there's another part of this puzzle that involves the three phases we've already discussed?
Solid -Sublimates into> Gas
Gas -Deposes into> Solid
A solid(like frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice) can instantly pass the liquid phase and sublimate into a gas. Likewise, a gas can pass the liquid phase to depose into a solid.
Ok, there is one more phase.
Solid(Melts), Liquid(Evaporates), Gas(Ionizes
), Gas(Condenses), Liquid(Freezes), Solid
Yep. The fourth phase of matter is - plasma!PLASMA
What is a plasma? Not many people know plasmas as a phase of matter. But what happens when you further heat a gas? Well, when we look at the difference between solids, liquids, and gasses, the atoms get "looser." They pull farther and farther apart until finally they're whizzing around above your head. When you heat a gas enough, it'll finally become a plasma. In which the atoms themselves are pulled apart. That's a plasma.
What does that mean? Well, as we said over and over before, when you add heat to a substance, you're adding energy. When you add energy to an atom it has more ability to move around, thus creating the phases we know. When you heat a gas enough, the individual particles within the atom get enough energy to move around as well. The nucleus and the electrons part ways, and they flow all around the substance. Think like the electron sea in a metallic solid, but the nucleus' are bouncing around as well. Electrons in this state are said to be excited. Excited electrons often send off a glow, and so do plasmas. However, simply the level of heat within a plasma causes it to glow, like a fire(However, a fire is not a plasma. It's hot gasses. If you heat up fire, you could get it to become a plasma - but the ways to do this must be carefully supervised, so I don't recommend it.). Generally, a gas takes up for volume than a liquid that it comes from, and a liquid takes up more volume than a solid that it came from, as they get less dense. This is the same for plasmas - they become more voluminous than the gasses they come from, as they are more energetic and less dense.
So...it's like an athletic, smart, gaseous metal...but not really...O.O
It may surprise you to know that the most common phase of matter is in fact plasma. Stars, which make up the majority of light mass(As opposed to dark matter), are plasma. Electrons and nuclei bouncing around, fusing to form different atoms in nuclear fusion. Stars would have to be incredibly hot and energetic if they can light up our sky from 8 light-years away and more. Not even the brightest light humans have invented could do that from the moon! Guess humans don't have many bright ideas...
But in fact, even I have just discovered that there is yet another phase of matter. It's called a Bose-Einstein Condensate(I just call it a condensate - it flows better...). It's atoms that get SO cold that they are said to have an "identity-crisis," and they all become part of one quantum system. They literally act as one large wave packet in the system. They can even leak through completely consecutive containers that hold them. It's also called a superfluid. Look up superfluid helium on youtube, because even some of the best scientists can't explain condensates - how could I ever hope to?
Well, I'm out of time, and out of answers. I hope this proved enlightening and entertaining! Until next time!