How do cells unite to form a solid structure. For example a plant body is made up of a number of cells. The cells are not solid structures. Their consistency is in between solid and plasma. So how come they form solids. In solids i know that the constituent particles which may be ions or atoms or molecules are present very close to each other forming an amorphous or crystalline solid structure. But in plant body there are cells. So how are the cells are arranged to form a solid structure a solid body. why not a liquid or a gaseous. I have looked up in various sources but i have not found any mention of this topic. I am reallt desperate to know more on this. So any help will be appreciated. This is not a homework question and if anybody requires me to edit the question then please say so. Thanks

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    $\begingroup$ Cells have containers around them, like a plastic bag that can hold liquid. Look up cell wall and cell membrane. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik May 15 '19 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ Arguably, cells don't form solid structures. Amoeba is pretty soft, as is human without bones. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin May 15 '19 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ If both OP and users answering stick to their definition of solid and or crystalline a clear answer is difficult. A balloon filled of air can be seen as solid as well, and is even not rigid. Basically OP is asking what keep in place and shape cells as in plants skin organs etc. It might even more appropriate for Biology SE. Here we will likely refer to generic dispersive force, fiber like structure, hydrogen bonding. OP should consider the term composite materials. It might help. As well as the fact that a solid can be compressible, elongable, etc $\endgroup$ – Alchimista May 16 '19 at 9:34

So how are the cells are arranged to form a solid structure a solid body?

Plant cells have cell walls, are filled with liquid, and have strong cell-cell adhesion. This gives a fairly rigid structure that may seem like a solid. Take a carrot for example, it seems solid. But if you put the carrot in a blender, you get carrot juice - not a solid. Also, when the carrot dries out, it loses its rigidity.


Woody plants contain a lot of cellulose, a water-insoluble polymer, outside of cells. This gives them even more of a solid (and dry) appearance, but the insides of their cells are aqueous as well.

Cells other than plant cells

There are cells that lack a cell wall, they are just surrounded by a lipid bilayer. Tissues made from these cells (muscle, brain, liver, etc.) don't seem solid at all. Animals do have connective tissue (mostly protein-based) and a skeleton that holds everything together unless there is trauma (predators, accidents, etc).

How do cells form a solid structure?

Let me un-ask the question a bit. Sometimes they do form a solid-like structure, and sometimes they don't. Fibrous biological macromolecules play a large role in making tissues rigid, either directly or in combination with having cells filled with aqueous solution.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I understand what is being said. What about skin? skin is a very solid structure as we can see. but it is made up of epithelial cells without any cell walls. Then how come the skin is a solid? $\endgroup$ – Alma May 15 '19 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ Let us say I keep a million plantcells together in a definite fashion very closely. Then will i get a solid? moreover i know in solids either crystalline or amorphous the particles are arranged in a crystal lattice or they are arranged closely in an indefinite pattern. in a plant body how does this cellular structure correspond to the general idea of solids where particles are arranged ? $\endgroup$ – Alma May 15 '19 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Alma It's not a solid, it just has some solid-like features. In a solid, none of the particles change neighbors by moving around. That would not support life as we know it. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Theis May 17 '19 at 11:47

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