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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

Matter undergoes changes in state as heat is continuously applied to it, why does this happen to understand it we have to look inside the matter, using kinetic theory. This animated science topic gives in-depth information about kinetic theory and is very useful for high schools, college and industry.

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Animation type : Advanced

Animation length = 30 minutes

Kinetic theory of matter : The interactive e-learning animation details the following

  • Why solids have a definite shape and volume ?
  • Why liquid do not have a definite shape ?
  • Why gases have neither a definite shape or volume ?
  • What is the effect of heat on the three states of matter ?
  • What is melting and melting point ?
  • What is evaporation ?
  • What is boiling point ?

Explanatory Notes contain :

1) Plasma state
2) Forces existing in nature

effect of heat on three states of matter
Effect of heat on three states of matter Solid - liquid - gaseoues state - melting of ice
why solids have a definite shape
Ice has a definite shape that changes as it melts
Solids have a definite shape due to arrangement of molecules
Ice has a definite shape that changes as it melts
the three states of matter
The three states of matter
Details of the animation/ movie /software

The basic ideas of the kinetic theory are

  1. all matter consists of particles (atoms or molecules) in motion
  2. as the temperature increases, the average speed of the movement increases.

According to this theory, the temperature of a body is a measure of the average kinetic energy of it particles.
This theory can also be used to explain the differences between the different states (or phases) of matter.

Solids :

The particles vibrate around fixed positions. They are close together and so attract each other strongly. This is why solids maintain their shape.

Liquid :

The particles are still relatively close together but now have enough energy to "change places" with each other. This is why liquids can flow.

Gases :

Average distance between particles typically 10 times greater than in solids and liquids. The particles now move freely at random, occupying all the space available to them.

This process can be thought about as being similar to this....

100 people in you living room, all glued to the floor. They can all move a little but can't move their feet.

You now feed them all some high energy food which gives them enough energy to pull their feet free, so they can now move around. Unfortunately the door is locked so they are all still VERY close together, but at least they can move a little. To continue the analogy from above, this can be thought of like this...

Your room full of moving (liquid) people is now given some even higher energy food. They now have enough energy to break the door down (and some of the walls too). This means that they can spread out because they can get outside - just like a gas.


  • Solids are made up of particles which are attached together and can only vibrate back and forth.

  • Liquid's particles are still held together but are able to move around each other.

  • Gas has particles which have enough energy to have broken the bonds that held them together as a liquid.

  • To go from solid to liquid to gas you need to add energy
  • To go from gas to liquid to solid you must remove energy

  • Solid - Liquid = Melting, Liquid - Gas = Evaporating

  • Gas - Liquid = Condensing, Liquid - Solid = Freezing

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