What is Matter

asked Apr 26, 2014 in Chemistry by brucksin (29 points)

1 Answer

answered Apr 26, 2014 by varsha (81 points)

In Science the term "mass" is well-defined, but "matter" is not. We have seen that in the field of physics "matter" is simply equated with particles that exhibit mass also travel at a speed lesser than the speed of light example are quarks and leptons.

In literal meaning Matter is a substance (or a particle) that has mass. Matter is also used loosely as a general term for the substance that makes up all observable physical objects.

All objects we see with the eye consist of atoms. This atomic matter is in turn made up of subatomic particles usually a nucleus of protons and neutrons, and orbiting electrons. By contrast, mass less particles, such as photons, are not considered matter, because they have neither mass nor volume. But not all particles have mass or volume since fundamental particles such as quarks and leptons are considered "point particles" with no effective size or volume. But, quarks and leptons together make up "ordinary matter", and their interactions forms to the net volume of the particles that make up ordinary matter.

Matter commonly exists in four states (or phases): solid, liquid and gas, and plasma.

A Famous Physicist Albert Einstein showed that all matter can be converted to energy (known as mass–energy equivalence) by the famous formula E = mc2. As the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second, a relatively small amount of matter may be converted to a large amount of energy.

Generally one tends to relate Matter with mass but Matter should not be confused with mass, as the two are not quite the same in Physics. For example, mass is conserved, which means that its value is does not change through time. However, matter is not conserved, although in Earth matter is approximately conserved. Still, Einstein’s special theory of relativity shows that matter may disappear by conversion into energy, even inside systems, and it can also be created from energy, within such systems.


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