Absolute Zero
States of Matter
Launch interactive

States of Matter

Water is the only substance on Earth that occurs naturally as a solid, liquid, and gas. It does so because the temperature and pressure on our planet are just right to allow ice, liquid water, and water vapor to form. But scientists can artificially transform substances that occur naturally in only one or two forms of matter into other forms—for example, converting carbon dioxide gas into solid carbon dioxide (dry ice). They do this by altering the temperature and/or pressure surrounding a substance. In this interactive, adjust the temperature and pressure of three common substances and watch them morph into different states of matter. Along the way, you'll see just how inextricably temperature and pressure are linked.—Richard Pommier Swanson


Richard Pommier Swanson is the former Science Content Director for PBS's DragonflyTV. He holds degrees in Education and the History of Science and Technology from the University of Minnesota.

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© | Created January 2008