Three states of matter

Key Points

Matter can exist in one of three main states: solid, liquid, or gas.

Solid matter is composed of tightly packed particles. A solid will retain its shape; the particles are not free to move around.

Liquid matter is made of more loosely packed particles. It will take the shape of its container. Particles can move about within a liquid, but they are packed densely enough that volume is maintained.

Gaseous matter is composed of particles packed so loosely that it has neither a defined shape nor a defined volume. A gas can be compressed.

three states of matter