# Is there a state beyond gas?

If you could boil water in a sealed container until it became vapor and you still kept applying heat to it would something happen? Maybe gas to super-gas? This has been on my mind for a long time I really hope someone can help out.

• Wikipedia lists all the states of matter, what they are, and other proposed additions to the list
– Jim
Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 15:02
• @Jim All? I don't see the states of matter which arise at high enough temperatures (e.g. 10^15K for electroweak). Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 16:17
• @Michael It's wikipedia, add it in if you think it's missing
– Jim
Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 16:31
• ...Plasma? Did you look that up? Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 17:48
• en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_diagram Phases aren't as easily ordered as many people think. They're more accurately a 2d chart as shown in tom's answer, or a 3d chart. Even more confusing, sometimes they blur, after you pass the "critical point", liquid and gas become the same thing. Also multiple solid forms exist: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamorphism and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice#Phases Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 19:30

## 6 Answers

Plasma is described as the 4th state of matter, which is what you get if you give so much heat energy that the molecules begin to break up and ionize into positively and negatively charged fragments.

Another Claim on the title '4th State of matter' is a 'supercritical fluid'. Sometimes people draw phase diagrams with it to show this '4th state of matter'. (Strictly speaking Supercritical fluids may be a different phase from liquid, solid and gas and more '4th phase of matter' than '4th state of matter' as pointed out in the good comment from Jim. - the state of a supercritical fluid is gas - whether supercritical fluid is a phase or state maybe something that is up for debate at the moment.)

As can be see from the diagram the supercritical state exists above the critical temperature and pressure.

Supercritical fluids have many interesting properties. For example supercritical water dissolves organic molecules (such as organic solvents), which would not normally dissolve in water. It is also very acid and very alkaline at the same time because there is a high concentration in the liquid of both H$$^+$$ and OH$$^-$$ ions.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is used to remove caffeine from coffee beans.

Finally to go back to your question, if you took water and heated it in a sealed container it would 'go supercritical' if it did not break the container first - please don't do this at home, because if the container breaks then you would have alot of very hot dangerous steam --- people who research this for science tend to work with very small volumes for safety.

• is there any physical changes the liquid has after changing to super critical liquid except the phase? Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 9:56
• @Yuvraj Hmmm, I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Generally speaking the molecules do not change - or do not change very much. But there can be some differences; for example supercritical water is both very alkaline and very acidic at the same time because it has a high concentration of H+ and OH- ions present - whereas for water at room temperature and pressure the concentration of H+ and OH- ions is much much lower.
– tom
Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 14:23
• thanks for replying a hypothetical question is there exist a state beyond the plasma if in future we discover? @Tom Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 14:24
• @Yuvraj - beyond plasma means very very high temperatures where there is enough energy for nuclei to approach each other and fuse together - but this is still called a plasma - so the only thing beyond that I can think of is CERN's experiments where nuclei hit each other at incredibly high 'temperatures' and a whole shower of fundamental particles are produced... ... The only time when things have been so hot would have been the big bang I expect, so if you are interested in that then look up the big band I would suggest....
– tom
Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 14:29

It would start to ionize and them you would get plasma, the 4th state of matter. The "gas" would begin to become an electrical conductor

Gas is indeed not the highest state of matter, the next step in from it is in-fact plasma: a super-heated gas which acts as a liquid even though it has gone far beyond and vastly different from that form.

Super-heating that water to the state of plasma would take a fair bit more heat than a kettle or stovetop could ever produce, but if persistent pressure and energy were applied to it, eventually it would change to this fourth, higher, state of matter.

This material is found naturally in and around our galaxy but also on Earth, plasma forming directly below where particularly large lightning bolts have struck; the ground, or whatever upon which the bolt impacted, heating so fast and violently because of the extreme electrical voltage it goes through all stages of matter [solid, liquid and gas] before turning momentarily into this "super gas" as you think it as being...

• What common property or behavior do plasma and liquid have? Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 12:40
• I think that before water vapour becomes a plasma, it would undergo a chemical change, most H$_2$O molecules being reduced to H$_2$ and O$_2$, or into separate atoms (I'm not sure which form prevails). Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 12:53

One more state - the most extreme plasma that only existed microseconds after the Big Bang or in high energy accelerators like CERN - the quark gluon plasma. That's where temperature is so high the constituent quarks found in nucleons become fluid and flow freely through the mass.

There are in fact two more beyond gas.

1) Plasma: the temperature is sufficient to ionize the atoms.

2) Degenerate matter (or Degenerate gas): the temperature is sufficient to fully ionize and the pressure sufficient to compress to the packing limit of the particles (for example: white dwarfs are degenerate as the electrons have reached the required density and neutron stars have reached the required density for neutrons).

• One can also count other nuclear states like quar gluon plasma, color glass condensate..., and also exotic solid state/low temperature states Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 21:41
• Find one stable for longer than it takes to fly apart and I'll count it. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 21:43
• Learning this kept me from down voting the question. Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 11:38

As much as I know there are two more states after gas plasma and Bose-Einstien Condensate

• Bose–Einstein Condensates aren’t beyond gas, temperature-wise. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 11:42
• @Wrzlprmft But still they could be hotter? Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 14:28