26 Chapter One Chemical Foundations 1..9 ~ CLassification of Matter Before we can hope to understand the changes we see going on around us-the growth of plants, the rusting of steel, the aging of people, rain becoming more acidic-we must find out how matter is organized. Matter, best defined as anything occupying space and having mass, is the material of the universe. Matter is complex and has many levels of organization. In this section we introduce basic ideas about the structure of matter and its behavior. We will start by considering the definitions of the fundamental properties of matter. Matter exists in three states: solid, liquid, and gas. A solid is rigid; it has a fixed volume and shape. A liquid has a definite volume but no specific shape; it assumes the shape of its container. A gas has no fixed volume or shape; it takes on the shape and volume of its container. In contrast to liquids and solids, which are only slightly compressible, gases are highly compressible; it is relatively
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