rebab.netists study the structures, physical properties, and rebab.netical properties of material substances. These consist of matter, which is anything that occupies space and has mass. Gold and iridium are matter, as are peanuts, people, and postage stamps. Smoke, smog, and laughing gas are matter. Energy, light, and sound, however, are not matter; ideas and emotions are also not matter.

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The mass of an object is the quantity of matter it contains. Do not confuse an object’s mass with its weight, which is a force caused by the gravitational attraction that operates on the object. Mass is a fundamental property of an object that does not depend on its location.In physical terms, the mass of an object is directly proportional to the force required to change its speed or direction. A more detailed discussion of the differences between weight and mass and the units used to measure them is included in Essential Skills 1 (Section 1.9). Weight, on the other hand, depends on the location of an object. An astronaut whose mass is 95 kg weighs about 210 lb on Earth but only about 35 lb on the moon because the gravitational force he or she experiences on the moon is approximately one-sixth the force experienced on Earth. For practical purposes, weight and mass are often used interchangeably in laboratories. Because the force of gravity is considered to be the same everywhere on Earth’s surface, 2.2 lb (a weight) equals 1.0 kg (a mass), regardless of the location of the laboratory on Earth.

Under normal conditions, there are three distinct states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Solids are relatively rigid and have fixed shapes and volumes. A rock, for example, is a solid. In contrast, liquids have fixed volumes but flow to assume the shape of their containers, such as a beverage in a can. Gases, such as air in an automobile tire, have neither fixed shapes nor fixed volumes and expand to completely fill their containers. Whereas the volume of gases strongly depends on their temperature and pressure (the amount of force exerted on a given area), the volumes of liquids and solids are virtually independent of temperature and pressure. Matter can often change from one physical state to another in a process called a physical change. For example, liquid water can be heated to form a gas called steam, or steam can be cooled to form liquid water. However, such changes of state do not affect the rebab.netical composition of the substance.

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Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The Three States of Matter. Solids have a defined shape and volume. Liquids have a fixed volume but flow to assume the shape of their containers.

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Gases completely fill their containers, regardless of volume. Figure used with permission from Wikipedia