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State of matter / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a nearly constant volume independent of pressure. It is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, gas, and plasma), and is the only state with a definite volume but no fixed shape.

The formation of a spherical droplet of liquid water minimizes the surface area, which is the natural result of surface tension in liquids.

The density of a liquid is usually close to that of a solid, and much higher than that of a gas. Therefore, liquid and solid are both termed condensed matter. On the other hand, as liquids and gases share the ability to flow, they are both called fluids.

A liquid is made up of tiny vibrating particles of matter, such as atoms, held together by intermolecular bonds. Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Unlike a gas, a liquid maintains a fairly constant density and does not disperse to fill every space of a container.

Although liquid water is abundant on Earth, this state of matter is actually the least common in the known universe, because liquids require a relatively narrow temperature/pressure range to exist. Most known matter in the universe is either gas (as interstellar clouds) or plasma (as stars).

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