Meaning of Liquid State

What is Liquid State:

The liquid state is a state in which matter appears as a fluid substance with volume, but without a definite shape. Water is the most common example of this state.

It is one of the five states of aggregation of matter, along with the solid, gaseous, plasmatic, and condensed Bose-Einstein or BE states.

The liquid state can be considered intermediate between solid and gaseous. Solids have definite shape and volume. Gases have no definite shape or volume. On the other hand, liquids are formless like gases, but have constant volume, just like solids.

This is a consequence of the distribution and movement of the particles. With respect to solids, the particles of liquids are more distant from each other and have greater mobility. With respect to gases, the distance between the particles is smaller and their mobility is more limited.

Some examples of the liquid state are the following:

  • Water (seas, rivers, rain, etc.),
  • Body fluids (saliva, blood, amniotic fluid, urine, breast milk).
  • plant sap,
  • Mercury,
  • Came,
  • oils,
  • Vinegar,
  • syrups,
  • formaldehyde,
  • Gasoline.

Among these examples stands out water, which is the only resource available in liquid, solid and gaseous states naturally. Water is liquid whenever the temperature is between 0 and 100 ºC. When the temperature is higher than 100ºC, the water turns into gas. When the temperature is less than 0ºC, it freezes.

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Characteristics of the liquid state

Liquids have a set of very particular characteristics that distinguish them from gases and solids. Among them, we can name the following.

  • Constant volume. Liquids have a constant mass. This means that they always occupy the same space.
  • Indeterminate or variable form. At rest, liquids take the shape of the container they are in. In free fall, they acquire a spherical shape (for example, drops).
  • attraction between particles. There is attraction between the particles of liquids. This is less than in solids.
  • dynamics between particles. Liquid particles are always in motion. This movement is greater with respect to solids and less with respect to gases.

Liquid State Properties

The properties of the liquid state are fluidity, viscosity, adhesion, density, surface tension and capillarity.


liquid state

Liquids have the property of being fluid. This means that they take advantage of any leak to continue their movement. For example, if the container has cracks or if the surface is not compact (such as earth), the liquid leaks.


liquid state

Viscosity is the resistance of liquids to deformation and flow. The more viscous the liquid, the slower its displacement, which means that its fluidity is less. For example, honey is a liquid with a higher degree of viscosity than water.


liquid state

Glass with water and oil. Oil floats on top of water because its density is lower.

Density refers to the amount of mass in a given volume of liquid. The more compact the particles, the higher the density.

For example, water is denser than oil. This is why oil floats on top of water, despite being more viscous.

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liquid state

Adhesion or adherence is the property that liquids have to stick to solid surfaces. This is because the force of adhesion between the particles of liquids is greater than the force of cohesion between the particles of solids.

For example, ink stains a sheet of paper due to the property of adhesion. Another example is when water adheres to a glass surface.

Surface tension

liquid state

Surface tension allows the surface of a liquid to act as a kind of very delicate elastic membrane, resisting the penetration of objects. This force arises when liquid particles come into contact with a gas.

For example, surface tension can be felt when a leaf floats on a lake or when an insect walks on the surface of water without sinking.


liquid state

The crude sap of plants moves upwards due to capillarity.

Capillarity is the ability of a liquid to move up or down within a capillary tube. This property depends at the same time on the surface tension. For example, the raw sap of plants, whose circulation is ascending.

It may interest you:

  • States of the material.
  • Properties of matter.

Changes of state of liquids

liquid state

Changes of state of aggregation of matter.

When we change temperature or pressure, almost all materials can be transformed into a liquid state, and vice versa. Changes of matter involving the liquid state are called evaporation, solidification, condensation, and melting.

Evaporation: It is the transition from the liquid to the gaseous state. It occurs when a liquid increases its temperature until it reaches its boiling point. Then, the interaction between the particles is broken, and they separate and release, transforming into gas. For example, the steam of water in a pan on the fire.

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Solidification: It is the transition from the liquid to the solid state. It occurs when the liquid is exposed to a drop in temperature until it reaches a “freezing point”. At this point, the particles are so close together that there is no movement between them, which forms the solid mass. For example, the transformation of water into ice.

Condensation: It is the transition from the gaseous to the liquid state. It occurs when a gas reaches a cooling level called “dew point” before changes in temperature and pressure. For example, rain, product of the condensation of water vapor (clouds).

Fusion or melting: It is the transition from the solid state to the liquid state. It occurs when the solid is subjected to high temperatures, which causes the particles to move more easily. For example, the melting of ice into water.

It may interest you:

  • Solid state.
  • gaseous state.