Difference Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter

Main Difference – Phase of Matter vs State of Matter

Matter is any substance that exists in the universe. Matter has a mass and a volume that occupy the space. Matter can exist in different forms according to the internal and external factors of matter. The same substance can exist in different forms at different temperatures, pressures, etc. The terms phase and state are used to describe these different forms of matter. Both these terms explain the same property of matter, but are different from each other according to several factors as discussed in this article. The main difference between phase of matter and state of matter is that phase of matter explains uniform chemical and physical properties of matter whereas state of matter explains the form of matter at a given temperature and a pressure.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Phase of Matter
     
– Definition, Examples
2. What is State of Matter
     
– Definition, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter
     
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter
     
– Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Gases, Liquid, Matter, Phase Of Matter, Pressure, Solid, State Of Matter, TemperatureDifference Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter - Comparison Summary

What is Phase of Matter

Phase of matter is the form of matter that has uniform chemical and physical properties. In other words, phase of matter is a region of a substance that has uniform chemical and physical properties inside the boundary.

There are four major phases of matter. They are solid phase, liquid phase, gaseous phase and plasma phase. In these phases of matter, the density, index of refraction, chemical composition, etc. are uniform physical and chemical properties. The difference between these phases mainly depends on the arrangement of particles (these particles can be molecules, atoms or ions).

For a certain substance, the phase can be changed from one phase to a different phase. For example, by changing the temperature of water, liquid water phase can be converted into vapor phase (gaseous phase) of water. This is known as the phase transition.

Main Difference - Phase of Matter vs State of Matter

Figure 1: Phase Diagram for Water

The phase transition can be explained by terms such as melting, freezing, vaporization, sublimation, condensation, etc. The above image shows the phase diagram of water. The letters S, L and V stand for solid phase, liquid phase, and vapor phase respectively. TP indicates the triple point of water. It gives the temperature and pressure in which water can exist in all three phases at the same time as an equilibrium. 

What is State of Matter

State of matter is the form of matter at a given temperature and pressure. The state of matter depends on the temperature and pressure. At a given temperature and pressure a substance can exist mainly in one of four major states of matter: solid state, liquid state, gaseous state and plasma state of matter.

Difference Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter

Figure 2: The Three Main States of Matter

It is not essential to have the uniform physical and chemical properties in a substance when considering the state of mater. Therefore, there can be several phases in one state of matter. This happens when these phases are immiscible with each other but are in the same state of matter.

The state of matter can be changed by changing the temperature of a substance since the change in temperature can change the internal energy of a substance. Hence, the kinetic energy of particles in that substance is changed. It causes the state of matter to be changed.

Similarities Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter

  • Both terms explain the form of matter.
  • Both types include the same forms of matter: solid, liquid. Gas and plasma.

Difference Between Phase of Matter and State of Matter

Definition

Phase of Matter: Phase of matter is the form of matter that has uniform chemical and physical properties.

State of Matter: State of matter is the form of matter at a given temperature and pressure.

Nature of Properties

Phase of Matter: A phase of matter has uniform properties.

State of Matter: A state of matter may or may not have uniform properties.

Phase

Phase of Matter: A phase of matter has only one phase.

State of Matter: A state of matter can have several phases.

Transition

Phase of Matter: The change in phase does not change the uniformity of matter.

State of Matter: The change in state may or may not change the uniformity of matter.

Conclusion

Both phase of matter and state of matter explain the same concept, i.e., the form of matter. But they are two separate terms when the definitions are considered. The main difference between phase of matter and state of matter can be given as: phase of matter explains uniform chemical and physical properties of matter whereas state of matter explains the form of matter at a given temperature and a pressure.

References:

1. Bagley, Mary. “Matter: Definition & the Five States of Matter.” LiveScience, Purch, 11 Apr. 2016, Available here. Accessed 2 Oct. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “States of matter En” By Yelod – Wikimedia Commons * Yelod – Wikipedia (En) * ילוד – ויקיפדיה העברית – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Water phase diagram” By Eurico Zimbres – Own work (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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