Q:

Why do solids have definite shapes and volumes?

A:

Quick Answer

Solids have definite shapes and volumes because their atoms and molecules are held together firmly by the strong inter-molecular forces. At low temperatures, the kinetic energy in the solid is usually not enough to overcome these intermolecular forces, so the solid remains in the same state.

Know More
Why do solids have definite shapes and volumes?
Credit: UIG via Getty Images Universal Images Group Getty Images

Full Answer

The molecules of solids are held together so tightly that their movement is limited, and this is what gives them shape and volume. Their ability to resist compression is another property that makes solids retain their shape and volume. In the solid state, substances have high densities, and their diffusion rates are far lower than those of liquids.

Generally, solids are classified into two categories depending on how the constituent molecules and atoms are arranged in the solid. These are crystalline solids and amorphous solids.

In crystalline solids, the molecules and the atoms are organized into definite shapes so that when the solid is shattered, the orderly arrangement of the ions, molecules or atoms results in straight edges. In amorphous solids, the molecules and the atoms have no definite arrangement, and the solid consists of disorganized and tangled strings of molecules. When these solids are shuttered, the edges appear as curved because there is no definite internal structure. A perfect example of an amorphous solid is glass.

Learn more about States of Matter

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Does a gas have a definite volume?

    A:

    A gas does not have a definite volume. By its definition, a gas is a fluid state of matter that fits to the shape and volume of its container.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does "sublimation" mean in science?

    A:

    Sublimation is the scientific process in which solids are changed to gases without passing through the liquid phase. Sublimation occurs when temperatures and pressures are below the triple point. The triple point is the temperature and pressure at which substances can coexist in solid, liquid and vapor forms.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are total soluble solids?

    A:

    Total soluble solids are solids that are dissolved within a substance. A common total soluble solid is sugar. The technique of measuring the concentration of total soluble solids is called refractometry, and it is used extensively in the food industry.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does temperature affect the rate of dissolving?

    A:

    Whether the solute is a solid or gas, its solubility in water is dependent on temperature such that an increase in temperature can make solids more soluble while gases become less soluble. This means that if the temperature of water is increased by heating it, then the solid solute will dissolve more quickly. However, for gases dissolved in water, the reverse occurs and solubility decreases with an increase in water temperature.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore