Fig3_5 States of Matter

Fig3_5 States of Matter

Fig. 3.5 . The locations of atoms, large dashed circles, and their component electrons, small filled circles, and central nucleus, large filled circles, for the gaseous (left), liquid or solid (center) and plasma (right) states of matter. In the gaseous state, the atoms are widely separated and free to move about. The atoms are practically touching each other in the solid, and liquid, state. At sufficiently high temperature and pressure, the atoms cease to exist, and the plasma state is created. The atoms are torn into their constituents by frequent collisions at the high temperatures. The plasma consists of bare nuclei and unattached electrons moving about in random directions within the former empty space of atoms. In the plasma state, matter regains the compressibility of the gaseous state, and plasma behaves like a gas.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University