• Question: Is there any state above gaseous, and if so what is it and what does it do?

    Asked by bridget to Amy, Drew, Sara on 23 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      Hey bridget!!

      Well, there’s plasma!! Plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which some of the particles are ionized. If you heat it enough a gas dissociates its molecular bonds, breaking it into constituent atoms. If you further heat it you can get ionization (a loss or gain of electrons) of the molecules or atoms of the gas. This turns it into a plasma containing charged particles (i.e. positive ions and negative electrons).

      Plasma is electrically conductive so that it responds strongly to electromagnetic fields. Like gas it does not have a definite shape or a definite volume unless enclosed in a container. But, unlike gas, when it is under the influence of a magnetic field it can form structures such as filaments, beams and double layers.
      Plasma TVs use small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases (i.e. plasma!).

      Neat! 🙂