|What elements or things besides water can exist
the 3 states, solid,liquid and gas?|
|Question Date: 2012-12-12|
Amazingly almost every element can exist as a
solid, a liquid, and a gas - it all depends on
the temperature. Mercury, for example, is
generally found as a liquid but at -40 degrees
Celsius it freezes and turns into a solid. And
Mercury vapor (gas) is found in some particles
of light. Carbon Dioxide (the stuff we breathe
out) is generally found as a gas but dry ice
(that spooky ice that fogs) is actually carbon
dioxide (CO2) in its solid state.
CO2, however, is interesting as it is
one of the few things that do not have a liquid
state. Metals (solids) can be melted and turned
into a liquid if the heat is high enough. For
example, calcium carbonate (the main ingredient
in limestone) has a melting point of 1339
degrees Celsius - now that's hot! And liquids
can be boiled and turned into a gas if the heat
is again at a certain point that varies by
substance. Potassium, for example, has a melting
point of 63.5 degrees Celsius at which point it
turns from a solid into a liquid, and it has a
boiling point of 759 degrees Celsius at which
point it turns from a liquid into a gas.
It turns out that nearly everything can exist
in 3 states; it is just a question of finding
the right temperatures. For instance, oxygen, a
gas, becomes a liquid if you cool it down to -
297 degrees Fahrenheit (really, REALLY cold) and
if you cool it down further to -362 degrees
Fahrenheit it becomes a solid. Iron, a solid at
room temperature, becomes a liquid at 2800
degrees Fahrenheit (really, REALLY hot) and a
gas at 5182 degrees Fahrenheit (about half the
temperature of the sun).
When things are hot, the molecules and atoms
move around more and faster, and when they are
cold they are slower. The temperature you need
to make the molecules move fast enough to be a
gas or slow enough to be a solid depends on the
type of interactions between the molecules.
Every element can exist in all three
Nearly everything that you are familiar with
can exist as a solid, a liquid, or a gas. There
is a fourth phase, too, plasma, that things can
Everything can exist in all 3 states,
depending on the temperature and pressure. For
example, even the air (mostly nitrogen) will
turn into a liquid if it becomes cold enough.
Water just happens to be close to the
temperature region that we live in, and it's all
around us, so we notice it more than other
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