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Matter and Its Characteristics

Matter is everything around you which is made up of particles. It has mass and occupies space. Mass is a physical quantity which expresses the amount of stuff in an object. The space inside the container that is occupied by matter is its volume. Early Indian philosophers classified matter in the form of five basic elements – the ‘Panch Tatva’ -air, earth, fire, sky and water. Even though matter can be found all over the Universe, you only find it in a few forms, based on their physical and chemical properties.
Modern day scientists have identified five physical states of matter –
(a) solids,
(c) gases,
(d) plasmas, and
(e) Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).

Plasma was a new idea when it was noticed by William Crookes in 1879. The scientists who worked with the Bose-Einstein condensate received a Nobel Prize for their work in 1995. Each of those states is sometimes called a phase.
On the basis of their chemical properties, matter is classified as
(a) elements,
(b) compounds and
(c) mixtures.


Characteristics of Physical Nature of Matter