A solid in chemistry and physics is a phase of matter [1] of matter [2] characterized by resistance to deformation and to changes of volume.

At the microscopic scale, a solid has these properties:

  • The atoms [3] or molecules [4] that comprise the solid are packed close together.
  • These constituent elements have fixed positions [5] in space relative to each other. This accounts for the solid's rigidity.
    • If sufficient force is applied, either of these properties can be violated, causing permanent deformation.
  • Because any solid has some thermal energy, its atoms vibrate. However, this movement is very small and very rapid, and cannot be observed under ordinary conditions.

The branch of physics [6] that deals with solids is called solid-state physics [7], and is a type of condensed matter physics [8]. Materials science [9] is primarily concerned with properties of solids such as strength and phase [10] transformations. It overlaps strongly with solid state physics. Solid-state chemistry [11] overlaps both of these fields, but is especially concerned with the synthesis of novel materials.

The lightest known solid is man-made and is called aerogel. The lightest aerogel produced has a density of 1.9 mg per cm3 or 1.9 kg/m3 (526.3 times lighter than water).

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