PROPERTIES OF MATTER
Matter is physical substance that occupies space, has mass, is composed of atoms—or, in the case of subatomic particles, is part of an atom—and is convertible to energy. On Earth, matter appears in three clearly defined forms—solid, liquid, and gas—whose varying structural characteristics are a function of the speeds at which its molecules move in relation to one another. A single substance may exist in any of the three phases: liquid water, for instance, can be heated to become steam, a vapor; or, when sufficient heat is removed from it, it becomes ice, a solid. These are merely physical changes, which do not affect the basic composition of the substance itself: it is still water. Matter, however, can and does undergo chemical changes, which (as with the various states or phases of matter) are an outcome of activity at the atomic and molecular level.