States of Matter: Solids, Liquids, and Gases


States of Matter are the different forms that elements, compounds and mixtures will exist in as either solids, liquids or gases depending on how close their particles are.

In the periodic table, the states of matter can be easily traced. All metals with the exception of Mercury are solids this is due to the presence of strong metallic bonding. Whilst they are all solids, some are harder than others. For example, Group 1 metals like Lithium and Sodium are soft and easy to cut. But metals such as Copper and Iron in the transition metals are strong and hard.

Most non-metals are gases due to their weak intermolecular forces in their simple covalent structure. The best example of this is the top right section of the periodic table Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Chlorine and the Noble Gases (Group 18) are all gases. As we progress down the periodic table in the non-metals however they transition from gases to solids. With larger atoms and larger covalent structures, the likes of Sulphur, Phosphorus, Iodine and Carbon are all solids.

Terms in section

Particles in a solid are closely packed together and have a regular arrangement

Metallic bonding

Metallic bonding is the bonding between metallic ions where the metallic atoms lose their electrons and form positive metal ions

Group 1

Group 1 elements are in the first group of the periodic table with similar properties of being soft and reacting violently with water

Transition metals

Transition metals are the central section of the periodic table containing the majority of the metals. Also have d sub orbitals producing certain chemical properties

Non metals

Non metals are located mainly on the right hand side of the periodic table and comprise of covalently bonded compounds. Non metals share electrons to have a full outer shell.


Particles in a gas are far apart and can move around a lot freely

Intermolecular forces

Intermolecular forces are temporary interactions between ions, atoms or compounds that are not considered to be sharing electrons.

Simple covalent

Simple covalent bonded compounds that have low melting and boiling points and weak intermolecular forces. Simple covalent compounds share a pair of electrons and there are not many atoms bonded together.


The Structure and Meaning of the Periodic Table: Periods


Exceptions to the States of the Periodic Table