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Why can't solids change their shapes like liquid?

Why can't solids change their shapes like liquid?

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Asked by G. Horace, Last updated: Dec 18, 2018

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2 Answers

L. Sevigny

L. SevignyDoctor, Las Vegas
Doctor, Las Vegas

Answered on Aug 08, 2018

Liquids and gases can change their shapes because their molecules or atoms are spread out which makes them a bit more flexible in how they move. Solids have atoms that are packed together tightly so that the most they can do is vibrate or jiggle ever so slightly.

This vibration is not noticeable to the naked human eye but can be observed with the aid of an electron microscope. Because atoms are packed so tightly, they can't easily flow past each other which would give the solid the ability to change shape.

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C. Kenway

C. KenwayContent Writer, Jacksonville
Content Writer, Jacksonville

Answered on Aug 01, 2018

Solids cannot change due to their atom structure. Unlike gas or a liquid, a solid contains atoms which are closely packed together. Therefore, solids can't change shapes. Solids have a fixed volume and shape and are usually unable to flow, except in the case of glaciers. The atoms inside a solid are not allowed to move around too much.

The molecules in a solid are stuck in a specific structure or arrangement of atoms. The atoms still vibrate, and the electrons fly around in their orbitals, but the entire atom will not change its position. Another feature of liquids is that they are difficult to compress. Compressibility is the ability of a substance to change shape by applying pressure. Fluids, because they flow, can occupy whatever shape their container has, so they do not possess a fixed shape.

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