# Distinctive properties of liquids

The molecules are closely arranged in solids, loosely arranged in liquids and are free to move in gases... But, Why are liquids (especially water) exhibiting these distinctive properties such as incompressibility, surface tension and wetting phenomena?

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what makes you think solids are more compressible than liquids? –  Yrogirg Aug 16 '12 at 13:46

The wetting and surface tension comes from the contribution to the energy from the chemical bonds on the surface that would be inside the liquid but they're not because it's the surface. Such corrections inevitably exist for all fluids, including gases. It's just harder to notice it for gases because gases penetrate everywhere, anyway, and do everything they can to increase their volume. For liquids, the total energy contains volume-extensive terms and the surface terms, $$E = \alpha V + \beta A$$ where $A$ is the area. One may only accurately determine the coefficient(s) $\beta$ because the volume-extensive term is fixed; liquids are mostly incompressible. However, for gases, the first term becomes variable because $V$ does and the second term therefore plays a smaller role in the qualitative behavior of the substance.