The Difference Between a Phase and State of Matter

Phase of Matter Versus State of Matter

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The matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. States of matter are the physical form taken by the phases of matter. Although the state and phase don't mean quite the same thing, you'll often hear the two terms used interchangeably.

The States of Matter

States of matter are solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. Under extreme conditions, other states exist, such as s Bose–Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter. The state is the form taken by matter at a given temperature and pressure.

Phases of Matter

A phase of matter is uniform with respect to its physical and chemical properties. Matter undergoes phase transitions to change from one phase to another. The primary phases of matter are solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. 


At room temperature and pressure, the state of a piece of dry ice (carbon dioxide) would be solid and gas phases. At 0 °C, the state of water can be the solid, liquid, and/or gas phase. The state of water in a glass is the liquid phase.

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