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A liquid is a nearly
incompressible In fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mechanics (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) is the area of physics concerned with the motions of physical objects, more specifically the relationships among ...
fluid In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular s ...
that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a (nearly) constant volume independent of pressure. As such, it is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being
solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied ...

solid
,
gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space ...

gas
, and
plasma Plasma or plasm may refer to: Science * Plasma (physics), one of the four fundamental states of matter * Plasma (mineral) or heliotrope, a mineral aggregate * Quark–gluon plasma, a state of matter in quantum chromodynamics Biology * Blood plasma ...
), and is the only state with a definite volume but no fixed shape. A liquid is made up of tiny vibrating particles of matter, such as atoms, held together by
intermolecular bonds Intermolecular forces (IMF) (or secondary forces) are the forces which mediate interaction between molecules, including Electromagnetism, forces of attraction or repulsion which act between atoms and other types of neighboring particles, e.g. atoms ...
. Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Most liquids resist compression, although others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly constant density. A distinctive property of the liquid state is
surface tension Surface tension is the tendency of liquid surfaces at rest to shrink into the minimum surface area possible. Surface tension is what allows objects with a higher density than water such as razor blades and insects (e.g. Gerridae, water strid ...

surface tension
, leading to
wetting Wetting is the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface, resulting from intermolecular interactions when the two are brought together. The degree of wetting (wettability) is determined by a force balance between adhesiv ...

wetting
phenomena.
Water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , even though it provide ...

Water
is, by far, the most common liquid on Earth. The
density The density (more precisely, the volumetric mass density; also known as specific mass), of a substance is its per unit . The symbol most often used for density is ''ρ'' (the lower case Greek letter ), although the Latin letter ''D'' can also ...

density
of a liquid is usually close to that of a solid, and much higher than in a gas. Therefore, liquid and solid are both termed
condensed matter Condensed matter physics is the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of matter, especially the solid and liquid State of matter, phases which arise from electromagnetic forces between atoms. More gen ...
. On the other hand, as liquids and gases share the ability to flow, they are both called
fluid In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular s ...
s. Although liquid water is abundant on Earth, this state of matter is actually the least common in the known universe, because liquids require a relatively narrow temperature/pressure range to exist. Most known matter in the universe is in gaseous form (with traces of detectable solid matter) as
interstellar cloud An interstellar cloud is generally an accumulation of gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that contin ...
s or in plasma from within stars.


Introduction

Liquid is one of the four primary states of matter, with the others being solid, gas and
plasma Plasma or plasm may refer to: Science * Plasma (physics), one of the four fundamental states of matter * Plasma (mineral) or heliotrope, a mineral aggregate * Quark–gluon plasma, a state of matter in quantum chromodynamics Biology * Blood plasma ...
. A liquid is a
fluid In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular s ...
. Unlike a solid, the
molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion I ...

molecule
s in a liquid have a much greater freedom to move. The forces that bind the molecules together in a solid are only temporary in a liquid, allowing a liquid to flow while a solid remains rigid. A liquid, like a gas, displays the properties of a fluid. A liquid can flow, assume the shape of a container, and, if placed in a sealed container, will distribute applied pressure evenly to every surface in the container. If liquid is placed in a bag, it can be squeezed into any shape. Unlike a gas, a liquid is nearly incompressible, meaning that it occupies nearly a constant volume over a wide range of pressures; it does not generally expand to fill available space in a container but forms its own surface, and it may not always mix readily with another liquid. These properties make a liquid suitable for applications such as
hydraulics Hydraulics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...
. Liquid particles are bound firmly but not rigidly. They are able to move around one another freely, resulting in a limited degree of particle mobility. As the temperature increases, the increased vibrations of the molecules causes distances between the molecules to increase. When a liquid reaches its
boiling point The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure 280px, The ''pistol test tube'' experiment. The tube contains alcohol and is closed with a piece of cork. By heating the alcohol, the vapors fill in the space, inc ...
, the cohesive forces that bind the molecules closely together break, and the liquid changes to its gaseous state (unless
superheating In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Ph ...

superheating
occurs). If the temperature is decreased, the distances between the molecules become smaller. When the liquid reaches its
freezing point
freezing point
the molecules will usually lock into a very specific order, called crystallizing, and the bonds between them become more rigid, changing the liquid into its solid state (unless
supercooling Supercooling, also known as undercooling, is the process of lowering the temperature of a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoch ...
occurs).


Examples

Only two elements are liquid at
standard conditions for temperature and pressure Standard temperature and pressure are standard sets of conditions for experimental measurements to be established to allow comparisons to be made between different sets of data. The most used standards are those of the International Union of Pure ...
:
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
and
bromine Bromine is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elemen ...

bromine
. Four more elements have melting points slightly above
room temperature Colloquially, room temperature is the range of air temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy, present in all matter, which is the source of the occurrence of heat ...
:
francium Francium is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

francium
,
caesium Caesium (IUPAC spelling) (American and British English spelling differences, also spelled cesium in American English) is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cs and atomic number 55. It is a soft, silvery-golden alkali ...

caesium
,
gallium Gallium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Discovered by France, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, Gallium is in boron group, group 13 of the periodic table and is ...

gallium
and
rubidium Rubidium is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science th ...

rubidium
. Metal alloys that are liquid at room temperature include
NaK
NaK
, a sodium-potassium metal alloy,
galinstan Galinstan is a brand name for a eutectic alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractur ...
, a fusible alloy liquid, and some amalgams (alloys involving mercury). Pure substances that are liquid under normal conditions include water,
ethanol Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is an organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), ...

ethanol
and many other organic solvents. Liquid water is of vital importance in chemistry and biology; it is believed to be a necessity for the existence of life. Inorganic liquids include water, magma,
inorganic nonaqueous solventAn inorganic nonaqueous solvent is a solvent A solvent (from the Latin language, Latin ''wikt:solvo#Latin, solvō'', "loosen, untie, solve") is a substance that dissolves a solute, resulting in a solution. A solvent is usually a liquid but can als ...
s and many
acid An acid is a or capable of donating a (hydrogen ion H+) (a ), or, alternatively, capable of forming a with an (a ). The first category of acids are the proton donors, or s. In the special case of , proton donors form the H3O+ and are ...
s. Important everyday liquids include
aqueous solution An aqueous solution is a solution Solution may refer to: * Solution (chemistry) Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, upMaking a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in water. The salt is the solute an ...
s like household
bleach Bleach is the generic name for any chemical product that is used industrially and domestically to remove color from a fabric or fiber or to clean or to remove stains in a process called bleaching. It often refers, specifically, to a dilute so ...

bleach
, other
mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, ...

mixture
s of different substances such as
mineral oil Mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of higher alkanes from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum, as distinct from usually edible vegetable oils. The name 'mineral oil' by itself is imprecise, h ...
and gasoline,
emulsion An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally Miscibility, immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) owing to liquid-liquid phase separation. Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloid ...

emulsion
s like
vinaigrette Vinaigrette ( ) is made by mixing an oil with something acidic such as vinegar Vinegar is an aqueous solution An aqueous solution is a solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table ...

vinaigrette
or
mayonnaise Mayonnaise, informally mayo, is a thick, creamy sauce In , a sauce is a , , or semi- food, served on or used in preparing other s. Most sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish ...
, suspensions like blood, and
colloid A colloid is a mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, co ...

colloid
s like
paint Paint is any pigmented liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in which the material densi ...

paint
and milk. Many gases can be liquefied by cooling, producing liquids such as
liquid oxygen Liquid oxygen—abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applica ...
,
liquid nitrogen Students preparing homemade dewar of liquid nitrogen.">Cryogenic_storage_dewar.html" ;"title="ice cream with a Cryogenic storage dewar">dewar of liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen—LN2—is nitrogen in a liquid state at low temperature. Liquid ...

liquid nitrogen
,
liquid hydrogen Liquid hydrogen (LH2 or LH2) is the liquid state A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in which ...
and
liquid helium Liquid helium is a physical state of helium, at very low temperatures if it is at standard atmospheric pressures. Liquid helium may show superfluidity. At standard pressure, the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, ...

liquid helium
. Not all gases can be liquified at atmospheric pressure, however.
Carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical formula A chemical formula is a way of presenting information about the chemical proportions of s that constitute a particular or molecule, using symbols, numbers, and sometimes also other symbols, such as pare ...

Carbon dioxide
, for example, can only be liquified at pressures above 5.1
atm ATM or atm often refers to: * Atmosphere (unit) or atm, a unit of atmospheric pressure * Automated teller machine, a cash dispenser or cash machine ATM or atm may also refer to: Computing * ATM (computer), a ZX Spectrum clone developed in Mos ...
. Some materials cannot be classified within the classical three states of matter; they possess solid-like and liquid-like properties. Examples include
liquid crystal Liquid crystals (LCs) are a state of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time ...
s, used in LCD displays, and
biological membrane A biological membrane, biomembrane or cell membrane is a selectively permeable membrane Image:Schematic size.jpg, up150px, Schematic of size-based membrane exclusion A membrane is a selective barrier; it allows some things to pass through but s ...
s.


Applications

Liquids have a variety of uses, as lubricants, solvents, and coolants. In hydraulic systems, liquid is used to transmit power. In
tribology Tribology is the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (ma ...
, liquids are studied for their properties as
lubricants A lubricant is a substance that helps to reduce friction Friction is the force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is th ...
. Lubricants such as oil are chosen for
viscosity The viscosity of a is a measure of its to deformation at a given rate. For liquids, it corresponds to the informal concept of "thickness": for example, has a higher viscosity than . Viscosity can be conceptualized as quantifying the inter ...

viscosity
and flow characteristics that are suitable throughout the
operating temperature An operating temperature is the allowable temperature Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy, present in all matter, which is the source of the occurrence of heat, a flow of ...
range of the component. Oils are often used in engines,
gear box A transmission is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to apply Force, forc ...

gear box
es,
metalworking Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearan ...
, and hydraulic systems for their good lubrication properties. Many liquids are used as
solvents A solvent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
, to dissolve other liquids or solids.
Solution Solution may refer to: * Solution (chemistry) Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, upMaking a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in water. The salt is the solute and the water the solvent. In chemistry ...
s are found in a wide variety of applications, including
paint Paint is any pigmented liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in which the material densi ...

paint
s,
sealant Sealant is a substance used to block the passage of s through the surface or joints or openings in materials, a type of . In building construction ''sealant'' is sometimes synonymous with ' and also serve the purposes of blocking dust, sound and ...

sealant
s, and
adhesive Adhesive, also known as glue, cement, mucilage, or paste, is any non-metallic substance applied to one or both surfaces of two separate items that them together and resists their separation. The use of adhesives offers certain advantages over ...
s.
Naphtha Naphtha ( or ) is a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture. Mixtures labelled ''naphtha'' have been produced from natural gas condensate Natural-gas condensate, also called natural gas liquids, is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon In , a ...
and
acetone Acetone, or propanone, is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, ...

acetone
are used frequently in industry to clean oil, grease, and tar from parts and machinery.
Body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in whic ...
s are water-based solutions.
Surfactant Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension Surface tension is the tendency of liquid surfaces at rest to shrink into the minimum surface area possible. Surface tension is what allows objects with a higher density than wate ...

Surfactant
s are commonly found in soaps and
detergent A detergent is a surfactant Surfactants are compounds that lower the (or interfacial tension) between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid, or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as s, agents, , s, or s. The word "surfact ...
s. Solvents like alcohol are often used as
antimicrobial An antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All orga ...
s. They are found in cosmetics,
ink Ink is a gel, Sol (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colourant, such as a dye or pigment, and is used to color a surface to produce an image, writing, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing ...

ink
s, and liquid
dye laser A dye laser is a laser A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by sti ...
s. They are used in the food industry, in processes such as the extraction of
vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, eleme ...
. Liquids tend to have better
thermal conductivity The thermal conductivity of a material is a measure of its ability to conduct heat. It is commonly denoted by k, \lambda, or \kappa. Heat transfer occurs at a lower rate in materials of low thermal conductivity than in materials of high thermal ...

thermal conductivity
than gases, and the ability to flow makes a liquid suitable for removing excess heat from mechanical components. The heat can be removed by channeling the liquid through a
heat exchanger A heat exchanger is a system used to transfer heat between two or more fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a Phase (m ...

heat exchanger
, such as a
radiator Radiators are heat exchanger A heat exchanger is a system used to transfer heat between two or more fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or externa ...

radiator
, or the heat can be removed with the liquid during
evaporation Evaporation is a type of that occurs on the of a as it changes into the gas phase. The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other bas ...

evaporation
. Water or
glycol A diol is a containing two s (−OH groups). An diol is also called a glycol. This pairing of functional groups is pervasive, and many subcategories have been identified. The most common industrial diol is . Examples of diols in which the hydr ...
coolants are used to keep engines from overheating. The coolants used in
nuclear reactor A nuclear reactor, formerly known as an atomic pile, is a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction 300px, A possible nuclear fission chain reaction: 1) A uranium-235 atom absorbs a neutron">uranium-235.html" ;"ti ...

nuclear reactor
s include water or liquid metals, such as
sodium Sodium is a with the  Na (from Latin ''natrium'') and  11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive . Sodium is an , being in of the periodic table. Its only stable is 23Na. The free metal does not occur in nature, and must be ...

sodium
or
bismuth Bismuth is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbe ...

bismuth
. Liquid propellant films are used to cool the thrust chambers of
rocket A rocket (from it, rocchetto, , bobbin/spool) is a spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ...

rocket
s. In
machining truck of the US Army with machinists working on automotive parts Machining is a process in which a material (often metal) is cut to a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process. The processes that have this common theme a ...
, water and oils are used to remove the excess heat generated, which can quickly ruin both the work piece and the tooling. During
perspiration Perspiration, also known as sweating, is the production of fluids secreted by the sweat gland Sweat glands, also known as sudoriferous or sudoriparous glands, , are small tubular structures of the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, fl ...
, sweat removes heat from the human body by evaporating. In the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning industry (HVAC), liquids such as water are used to transfer heat from one area to another. Similarly, liquids are often used in
cooking Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science, and craft of using heat In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...

cooking
for their better heat-transfer properties. In addition to better conductivity, because warmer fluids expand and rise while cooler areas contract and sink, liquids with low
kinematic viscosity The viscosity of a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a Phase (matter), phase of matter and include liquids, Gas, ...
tend to transfer heat through
convection Convection is single or multiphase fluid flow that occurs Spontaneous process, spontaneously due to the combined effects of material property heterogeneity and body forces on a fluid, most commonly density and gravity (see buoyancy). When t ...

convection
at a fairly constant temperature, making a liquid suitable for
blanching Blanch or blanching may refer to: *Blanch (medical), a temporary whitening of the skin due to transient ischemia *Blanching (cooking), cooking briefly in boiling water *Blanching (coinage), a method used to whiten metal *Blanching (horticulture), g ...
,
boiling Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature at which the vapour pressure of the liquid is equal to the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere. Ther ...
, or
frying Frying is the cooking Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science, and craft of using heat In thermodynamics, heat is energy in transfer to or from a thermodynamic system, by mechanisms other than thermodynamic work or ...
. Even higher rates of heat transfer can be achieved by condensing a gas into a liquid. At the liquid's boiling point, all of the heat energy is used to cause the phase change from a liquid to a gas, without an accompanying increase in temperature, and is stored as chemical
potential energy In physics, potential energy is the energy held by an object because of its position relative to other objects, stresses within itself, its electric charge, or other factors. Common types of potential energy include the gravitational potentia ...

potential energy
. When the gas condenses back into a liquid this excess heat-energy is released at a constant temperature. This phenomenon is used in processes such as
steaming Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. This is often done with a food steamer, a kitchen appliance made specifically to cook food with steam, but food can also be steamed in a wok. In the American southwest, steam pits used for cooking have ...

steaming
. Since liquids often have different boiling points, mixtures or solutions of liquids or gases can typically be separated by
distillation Distillation, or classical distillation, is the process of separating the components or substances from a liquid mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, ...

distillation
, using heat, cold,
vacuum A vacuum is a space Space is the boundless three-dimensional Three-dimensional space (also: 3-space or, rarely, tri-dimensional space) is a geometric setting in which three values (called parameter A parameter (from the Ancient Gree ...

vacuum
, pressure, or other means. Distillation can be found in everything from the production of
alcoholic beverages An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid f ...

alcoholic beverages
, to
oil refineries An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. Some referenc ...
, to the cryogenic distillation of gases such as
argon Argon is a with the  Ar and  18. It is in group 18 of the and is a . Argon is the third-most abundant in the , at 0.934% (9340 ). It is more than twice as abundant as (which averages about 4000 ppmv, but varies greatly), 23 time ...

argon
,
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
,
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
,
neon Neon is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that co ...

neon
, or
xenon Xenon is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Xe and atomic number 54. It is a colorless, dense, odorless noble gas found in Atmosphere of Earth, Earth's atmosphere in trace amounts. Although generally unreactive, x ...

xenon
by
liquefaction In materials science The interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Educ ...

liquefaction
(cooling them below their individual boiling points). Liquid is the primary component of
hydraulic Hydraulics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

hydraulic
systems, which take advantage of
Pascal's law Pascal's law (also Pascal's principle or the principle of transmission of fluid-pressure) is a principle in fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mechanics (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) is the are ...
to provide
fluid power Fluid power is the use of fluids under pressure to generate, control, and transmit power. Fluid power is subdivided into hydraulics using a liquid such as mineral oil or water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency an ...
. Devices such as
pump A pump is a device that moves fluids (s or es), or sometimes , by mechanical action, typically converted from electrical energy into hydraulic energy. Pumps can be classified into three major groups according to the method they use to move the fl ...

pump
s and
waterwheel The reversible water wheel powering a mine hoist in ''De re metallica'' (Georgius Agricola">De_re_metallica.html" ;"title="mine hoist in ''De re metallica">mine hoist in ''De re metallica'' (Georgius Agricola, 1566) A water wheel is a machi ...

waterwheel
s have been used to change liquid motion into
mechanical work In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. ...
since ancient times. Oils are forced through
hydraulic pump Hydraulics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
s, which transmit this force to
hydraulic cylinder A hydraulic cylinder (also called a linear ) is a mechanical that is used to give a unidirectional through a unidirectional stroke. It has many applications, notably in construction equipment (), , and civil engineering. Operation cylinder ...
s. Hydraulics can be found in many applications, such as automotive brakes and automotive transmission, transmissions, heavy equipment (construction), heavy equipment, and airplane control systems. Various hydraulic presses are used extensively in repair and manufacturing, for lifting, pressing, clamping and forming. Liquids are sometimes used in measuring devices. A thermometer often uses the thermal expansion of liquids, such as
mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

mercury
, combined with their ability to flow to indicate temperature. A manometer uses the weight of the liquid to indicate air pressure.


Mechanical properties


Volume

Quantities of liquids are measured in units of volume. These include the International System of Units, SI unit cubic metre (m3) and its divisions, in particular the cubic decimeter, more commonly called the litre (1 dm3 = 1 L = 0.001 m3), and the cubic centimetre, also called millilitre (1 cm3 = 1 mL = 0.001 L = 10−6 m3). The volume of a quantity of liquid is fixed by its temperature and pressure. Liquids generally expand when heated, and contract when cooled. Water between 0 °C and 4 °C is a notable exception. On the other hand, liquids have little compressibility. Water, for example, will compress by only 46.4 parts per million for every unit increase in Standard atmospheric pressure, atmospheric pressure (bar). At around 4000 bar (400 megapascals or 58,000 pounds per square inch, psi) of pressure at room temperature water experiences only an 11% decrease in volume.''Intelligent Energy Field Manufacturing: Interdisciplinary Process Innovations'' By Wenwu Zhang -- CRC Press 2011 Page 144 Incompressibility makes liquids suitable for hydraulics, transmitting hydraulic power, because a change in pressure at one point in a liquid is transmitted undiminished to every other part of the liquid and very little energy is lost in the form of compression. However, the negligible compressibility does lead to other phenomena. The banging of pipes, called water hammer, occurs when a valve is suddenly closed, creating a huge pressure-spike at the valve that travels backward through the system at just under the speed of sound. Another phenomenon caused by liquid's incompressibility is cavitation. Because liquids have little elasticity (physics), elasticity they can literally be pulled apart in areas of high turbulence or dramatic change in direction, such as the trailing edge of a boat propeller or a sharp corner in a pipe. A liquid in an area of low pressure (vacuum) vaporizes and forms bubbles, which then collapse as they enter high pressure areas. This causes liquid to fill the cavities left by the bubbles with tremendous localized force, eroding any adjacent solid surface.


Pressure and buoyancy

In a gravitational field, liquids exert pressure on the sides of a container as well as on anything within the liquid itself. This pressure is transmitted in all directions and increases with depth. If a liquid is at rest in a uniform gravitational field, the pressure p at depth z is given by :p=p_0+\rho g z\, where: :p_0\, is the pressure at the surface :\rho\, is the
density The density (more precisely, the volumetric mass density; also known as specific mass), of a substance is its per unit . The symbol most often used for density is ''ρ'' (the lower case Greek letter ), although the Latin letter ''D'' can also ...

density
of the liquid, assumed uniform with depth :g\, is the gravity, gravitational acceleration For a body of water open to the air, p_0 would be the atmospheric pressure. Static liquids in uniform gravitational fields also exhibit the phenomenon of buoyancy, where objects immersed in the liquid experience a net force due to the pressure variation with depth. The magnitude of the force is equal to the weight of the liquid displaced by the object, and the direction of the force depends on the average density of the immersed object. If the density is ''smaller'' than that of the liquid, the buoyant force points ''upward'' and the object floats, whereas if the density is ''larger'', the buoyant force points ''downward'' and the object sinks. This is known as Archimedes' principle.


Surfaces

Unless the volume of a liquid exactly matches the volume of its container, one or more surfaces are observed. The presence of a surface introduces new phenomena which are not present in a bulk liquid. This is because a molecule at a surface possesses bonds with other liquid molecules only on the inner side of the surface, which implies a net force pulling surface molecules inward. Equivalently, this force can be described in terms of energy: there is a fixed amount of energy associated with forming a surface of a given area. This quantity is a material property called the
surface tension Surface tension is the tendency of liquid surfaces at rest to shrink into the minimum surface area possible. Surface tension is what allows objects with a higher density than water such as razor blades and insects (e.g. Gerridae, water strid ...

surface tension
, in units of energy per unit area (SI units: Joule, J/Meter, m2). Liquids with strong intermolecular forces tend to have large surface tensions. A practical implication of surface tension is that liquids tend to minimize their surface area, forming spherical drop (liquid), drops and bubble (physics), bubbles unless other constraints are present. Surface tension is responsible for a range of other phenomena as well, including surface waves, capillary action,
wetting Wetting is the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface, resulting from intermolecular interactions when the two are brought together. The degree of wetting (wettability) is determined by a force balance between adhesiv ...

wetting
, and Capillary wave, ripples. In liquids under Confined liquid, nanoscale confinement, surface effects can play a dominating role since – compared with a macroscopic sample of liquid – a much greater fraction of molecules are located near a surface. The surface tension of a liquid directly affects its wettability. Most common liquids have tensions ranging in the tens of mJ/m2, so droplets of oil, water, or glue can easily merge and adhere to other surfaces, whereas liquid metals such as mercury may have tensions ranging in the hundreds of mJ/m2, thus droplets do not combine easily and surfaces may only wet under specific conditions. The surface tensions of common liquids occupy a relatively narrow range of values, which contrasts strongly with the enormous variation seen in other mechanical properties, such as viscosity.


Flow

An important physical property characterizing the flow of liquids is
viscosity The viscosity of a is a measure of its to deformation at a given rate. For liquids, it corresponds to the informal concept of "thickness": for example, has a higher viscosity than . Viscosity can be conceptualized as quantifying the inter ...

viscosity
. Intuitively, viscosity describes the resistance of a liquid to flow. More technically, viscosity measures the resistance of a liquid to deformation at a given rate, such as when it is being sheared at finite velocity. A specific example is a liquid flowing through a pipe: in this case the liquid undergoes shear deformation since it flows more slowly near the walls of the pipe than near the center. As a result, it exhibits viscous resistance to flow. In order to maintain flow, an external force must be applied, such as a pressure difference between the ends of the pipe. The viscosity of liquids decreases with increasing temperature. Precise control of viscosity is important in many applications, particularly the lubrication industry. One way to achieve such control is by blending two or more liquids of differing viscosities in precise ratios. In addition, various additives exist which can modulate the temperature-dependence of the viscosity of lubricating oils. This capability is important since machinery often operate over a range of temperatures (see also viscosity index). The viscous behavior of a liquid can be either Newtonian fluid, Newtonian or Non-Newtonian fluid, non-Newtonian. A Newtonian liquid exhibits a linear strain/stress curve, meaning its viscosity is independent of time, shear rate, or shear-rate history. Examples of Newtonian liquids include water, glycerin, motor oil, honey, or mercury. A non-Newtonian liquid is one where the viscosity is not independent of these factors and either thickens (increases in viscosity) or thins (decreases in viscosity) under shear. Examples of non-Newtonian liquids include ketchup,
mayonnaise Mayonnaise, informally mayo, is a thick, creamy sauce In , a sauce is a , , or semi- food, served on or used in preparing other s. Most sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish ...
, hair gels, Play-Doh, or starch solutions.


Elasticity under confinement

Confined liquids may exhibit different mechanical properties compared to bulk liquids. For example, liquids under sub-millimeter confinement (e.g. in the gap between rigid walls) exhibit a solid-like mechanical response and possess a surprisingly large low-frequency elastic shear modulus, which scales with the inverse cubic power of the confinement length.


Sound propagation

The speed of sound in a liquid is given by c = \sqrt where K is the bulk modulus of the liquid and \rho the density. As an example, water has a bulk modulus of about 2.2 Pascal (unit), GPa and a density of 1000 kg/m3, which gives ''c'' = 1.5 km/s.


Thermodynamics


Phase transitions

At a temperature below the
boiling point The boiling point of a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure 280px, The ''pistol test tube'' experiment. The tube contains alcohol and is closed with a piece of cork. By heating the alcohol, the vapors fill in the space, inc ...
, any matter in liquid form will evaporate until reaching equilibrium with the reverse process of condensation of its vapor. At this point the vapor will condense at the same rate as the liquid evaporates. Thus, a liquid cannot exist permanently if the evaporated liquid is continually removed. A liquid at or above its boiling point will normally boil, though
superheating In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Ph ...

superheating
can prevent this in certain circumstances. At a temperature below the freezing point, a liquid will tend to crystallization, crystallize, changing to its solid form. Unlike the transition to gas, there is no equilibrium at this transition under constant pressure, so unless
supercooling Supercooling, also known as undercooling, is the process of lowering the temperature of a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoch ...
occurs, the liquid will eventually completely crystallize. However, this is only true under constant pressure, so that (for example) water and ice in a closed, strong container might reach an equilibrium where both phases coexist. For the opposite transition from solid to liquid, see melting.


Liquids in space

The phase diagram explains why liquids do not exist in space or any other vacuum. Since the pressure is zero (except on surfaces or interiors of planets and moons) water and other liquids exposed to space will either immediately boil or freeze depending on the temperature. In regions of space near the earth, water will freeze if the sun is not shining directly on it and vaporize (sublime) as soon as it is in sunlight. If water exists as ice on the moon, it can only exist in shadowed holes where the sun never shines and where the surrounding rock does not heat it up too much. At some point near the orbit of Saturn, the light from the sun is too faint to sublime ice to water vapor. This is evident from the longevity of the ice that composes Saturn's rings.


Solutions

Liquids can form Solution (chemistry), solutions with gases, solids, and other liquids. Two liquids are said to be miscible if they can form a solution in any proportion; otherwise they are immiscible. As an example, water and
ethanol Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is an organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), ...

ethanol
(drinking alcohol) are miscible whereas water and gasoline are immiscible. In some cases a mixture of otherwise immiscible liquids can be stabilized to form an
emulsion An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally Miscibility, immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) owing to liquid-liquid phase separation. Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloid ...

emulsion
, where one liquid is dispersed throughout the other as microscopic droplets. Usually this requires the presence of a surfactant in order to stabilize the droplets. A familiar example of an emulsion is
mayonnaise Mayonnaise, informally mayo, is a thick, creamy sauce In , a sauce is a , , or semi- food, served on or used in preparing other s. Most sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish ...
, which consists of a mixture of water and oil that is stabilized by lecithin, a substance found in egg yolks.


Microscopic description

The molecules which compose liquids are ''disordered'' and ''strongly interacting'', which makes liquids difficult to describe rigorously at the molecular level. This stands in contrast with the other two common phases of matter, gases and solids. Although gases are disordered, they are sufficiently dilute that many-body interactions can be ignored, and molecular interactions can instead be modeled in terms of well-defined binary collision events. Conversely, although solids are dense and strongly interacting, their regular structure at the molecular level (e.g. a crystalline lattice) allows for significant theoretical simplifications. For these reasons, the microscopic theory of liquids is less developed than that of gases and solids.


Static structure factor

In a liquid, atoms do not form a crystalline lattice, nor do they show any other form of long-range order. This is evidenced by the absence of Bragg peaks in X-ray diffraction, X-ray and neutron diffraction. Under normal conditions, the diffraction pattern has circular symmetry, expressing the isotropy of the liquid. In radial direction, the diffraction intensity smoothly oscillates. This is usually described by the static structure factor ''S(q)'', with wavenumber ''q''=(4π/λ)sin θ given by the wavelength λ of the probe (photon or neutron) and the Bragg angle θ. The oscillations of ''S(q)'' express the ''near order'' of the liquid, i.e. the correlations between an atom and a few shells of nearest, second nearest, ... neighbors. A more intuitive description of these correlations is given by the radial distribution function ''g(r)'', which is basically the Fourier transform of ''S(q)''. It represents a spatial average of a temporal snapshot of pair correlations in the liquid.


Sound dispersion and structural relaxation

The above expression for the sound velocity c = \sqrt contains the bulk modulus ''K''. If ''K'' is frequency independent then the liquid behaves as a linear medium, so that sound propagates without dissipation and without mode coupling. In reality, any liquid shows some Acoustic dispersion, dispersion: with increasing frequency, ''K'' crosses over from the low-frequency, liquid-like limit K_0 to the high-frequency, solid-like limit K_\infty. In normal liquids, most of this cross over takes place at frequencies between GHz and THz, sometimes called hypersound. At sub-GHz frequencies, a normal liquid cannot sustain shear waves: the zero-frequency limit of the shear modulus is G_0=0. This is sometimes seen as the defining property of a liquid. However, just as the bulk modulus ''K'', the shear modulus ''G'' is frequency-dependent, and at hypersound frequencies it shows a similar cross over from the liquid-like limit G_0 to a solid-like, non-zero limit G_\infty. According to the Kramers-Kronig relation, the dispersion in the sound velocity (given by the real part of ''K'' or ''G'') goes along with a maximum in the sound attenuation (dissipation, given by the imaginary part of ''K'' or ''G''). According to linear response theory, the Fourier transform of ''K'' or ''G'' describes how the system returns to equilibrium after an external perturbation; for this reason, the dispersion step in the GHz..THz region is also called structural relaxation. According to the fluctuation-dissipation theorem, relaxation ''towards'' equilibrium is intimately connected to fluctuations ''in'' equilibrium. The density fluctuations associated with sound waves can be experimentally observed by Brillouin scattering. On supercooling a liquid towards the glass transition, the crossover from liquid-like to solid-like response moves from GHz to MHz, kHz, Hz, ...; equivalently, the characteristic time of structural relaxation increases from ns to μs, ms, s, ... This is the microscopic explanation for the above-mentioned viscoelastic behaviour of glass-forming liquids.


Effects of association

The mechanisms of atomic/molecular diffusion (or particle displacement) in solids are closely related to the mechanisms of viscous flow and solidification in liquid materials. Descriptions of
viscosity The viscosity of a is a measure of its to deformation at a given rate. For liquids, it corresponds to the informal concept of "thickness": for example, has a higher viscosity than . Viscosity can be conceptualized as quantifying the inter ...

viscosity
in terms of molecular "free space" within the liquid were modified as needed in order to account for liquids whose molecules are known to be "associated" in the liquid state at ordinary temperatures. When various molecules combine together to form an associated molecule, they enclose within a semi-rigid system a certain amount of space which before was available as free space for mobile molecules. Thus, increase in viscosity upon cooling due to the tendency of most substances to become ''associated'' on cooling. Similar arguments could be used to describe the effects of pressure on viscosity, where it may be assumed that the viscosity is chiefly a function of the volume for liquids with a finite compressibility. An increasing viscosity with rise of pressure is therefore expected. In addition, if the volume is expanded by heat but reduced again by pressure, the viscosity remains the same. The local tendency to orientation of molecules in small groups lends the liquid (as referred to previously) a certain degree of association. This association results in a considerable "internal pressure" within a liquid, which is due almost entirely to those molecules which, on account of their temporary low velocities (following the Maxwell distribution) have coalesced with other molecules. The internal pressure between several such molecules might correspond to that between a group of molecules in the solid form.


Table


References

{{Authority control Liquids, Phases of matter, *Liq Viscosity