Difference Between Liquid and Solid

Liquid vs Solid

Liquid and solid are two of the three primary phases matter is found in nature. Though plasma state is more common is more common in our universe, especially in hot stars and planets, it is solids, liquids, and gases that we have to contend with, on earth. Solid and liquid are two very distinct states of matter having different properties. In general, their appearance is a give away to their phase. Liquids have the ability to flow whereas solids are rigid and maintain fixed shape and volume. There are many more differences between solids and liquids that will be highlighted in this article.

All matter is made up of molecules and atoms, and each atom is composed of electrons, protons, and neutrons. So there is nothing to choose between solids and liquids when it comes to their composition, but how these constituents are packed and how they behave is what makes a material a solid or a liquid. Though these differences cannot be seen with naked eyes, it is when the particles of a solid and liquid are seen through a microscope that we can appreciate the differences between a solid and a liquid.

Particles (read molecules) in a solid are densely packed in a regular pattern and they have very little space to have any kind of movement. In general, they can only vibrate and are not free to move from one place to another. On the other hand, molecules in a liquid are closely packed but there is no regular pattern. These molecules can, not just vibrate but, often move from one place to another as the intermolecular attraction is weaker than is found in the molecules of a solid.

Because of the behavior of molecules, a solid retains a fixed shape and volume while a liquid, though retaining its volume takes the shape of the container in which it is placed. Sine the space between molecules in a solid is very small, they are not compressible. On the other hand, this intermolecular space being more than in solids allows liquids to be compressed slightly more. Rigidly packed molecules do not allow a solid to flow whereas this is a characteristic property of a liquid. Liquids also have this special property of wetting that causes one to feel moisture in his hands when he touches a liquid.

A solid can be converted into a liquid state by applying heat and pressure. The best example of a solid turning into liquid and vice versa is water. When ice is heated, it melts turning into water (liquid), but readily gets converted into a solid (ice) when its temperature is lowered.

Difference Between Liquid and Solid

• Solids have definite shape and volume whereas liquids, though having a definite volume retain the shape of the container in which they are placed

• This happens because molecules in solids are rigidly packed in a regular pattern and they cannot move freely. On the other hand, there is lesser intermolecu8lar attraction between molecules of a liquid and they move from one place to another being loosely packed.

• Liquids flow while solids don’t

• Liquids are slightly compressible while solids do not compress

• Liquids have the property of wetting that solids do not possess.