The three states of matter and volume. Image credit

The three states of matter and volume. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: The relationship between volume and state


  • due to the fact that the particles in a solid are in fixed positions
  • solids have a fixed shape and volume
  • A solid shape will thus retain its shape no matter what container it is in
  • for example an ice cube placed in a beaker remains a cube and
  • does not attempt to take up the shape of the beaker


  • when a solid melts it takes the shape of the container
  • The liquid conforms to the shape of the container up to the level it occupies because
  • A liquid will only take up some of the space of the container
  • The volume of the liquid remains constant provided both pressure and temperature remain fixed
  • Most liquids occupy a volume that is larger than that of the solid (water is a well known exception to this rule)


  • gas particles have very weak or no bonds between them
  • This causes then to move more freely
  • a gas takes up all the space in the container
  • liquids have a fixed volume but the volume of a gas depends on its container
  • For example when iodine crystals are heated they take up the entire volume of the container in which they are heated

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.