Matter exists mainly in three states, viz. solids, liquids and gases. The existence of matter in any of these three forms depends upon two factors:
  1. Intermolecular forces of attraction (keeps particle closer)
  2. Thermal energy (keeps particles apart)


Some of the common properties of solids, which distinguish them from other two
states of matter, are:
  • Solids are rigid and have definite shapes.
  • Solids have definite volume irrespective of the size or shape of the container in which they are placed.
  • Solids are almost incompressible.
  • Solids diffuse very slowly as compared to liquids and gases. Constituent particles are very closely packed in solids permitting very little space for their movement.
  • Solids have a much higher density (mass to volume ratio) than that of gases and liquids.
  • Most solids become liquids when heated. Some undergo sublimation on heating. The temperature at which a solid changes into liquid is called the melting point and the process is called as melting. Due to the varying natures of solids their melting temperatures vary considerably.

Classification of solids

Solids are divided into two classes, namely:
  1. Crystalline solids.
  2. Amorphous solids. 
A solid is said to be crystalline if the constituents arrange themselves in regular manner throughout the three-dimensional network. The ordered arrangement of building constituents extends over a large distance (long range order). 

On the other hand, in amorphous solids, the arrangement of building constituents is not regular (short range order).
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