Apart from the what everyone knows about, solids, liquids, gasses, plasma, BEC. What are the other states of matter and what are they used for? I would like an explanation as well as an example of usage.

I mean, which one is most used in day to day applications?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You may find a list of states of matter at encyclopedias or search engines. $\endgroup$
    – čaritisio
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 19:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's a great list on Wikipedia. $\endgroup$
    – Nerdatope
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ If you had read Wikipedia, you'd see that Liquid Crystals are the most used uncommon state of matter. Their primary purpose is to make LCD or Liquid Crystal Displays possible. $\endgroup$
    – Nerdatope
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ Cool! I didn't know that. $\endgroup$
    – Asker123
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Technically LCs aren't uncommon, as they are present in all living organisms. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


Aside from the four fundamental states, solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. There exists more than 10 states excluding the prior four, however reproducible under extreme situation. The two main variables that make substances in different state are pressure and temperature.

Illustration of transition between four fundamental states of matter (found from Wikipedia under creative commons)

Superfluids and Supersolids are states achievable by a few substances (Like liquid helium.) cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero. Quite a few of the states were achievable by extremely low temperature. Which includes Bose-Einstein Condensate exisitng at an ultra-low temperature and within cooled medium like Photonic Matter.

While superfluids and supersolids are known for their property of having no resistance in flowing and moving respectively; photonic matter have been suggested to be applicable to quantum logic operation due to the properties of photons interacting with each other as though they have mass.

Some states exist at high temperature and pressure. Supercritical fluid is an example in which the distinction between liquid and gas is nonexistent. In a phase diagram, the line that would be the boiling point under different conditions seperates liquid and gas until what is known as a critical point, adding more heat or pressure would result in this supercritical fluid. This site of an organization lists the applications of supercritical fluid in detail, to my surprise, it includes dry washing.

Phase diagram depicting the critical point.

There are some theoretical states that scientists have minimal information on. The quark-gluon plasma is a state in which quarks and gluons move free and independent of each other or pairs. In current states, by adding energy to separate quarks only splits them into two more pairs of quarks, bonded by gluons.

My feeble illustration of adding energy to separate quarks at normal conditions.

Jahn-Teller metal was a theoretical state, recently reproduced in lab, it possess multiple properties like an insulator-superconductor intermediate metal. It is extremely useful for making electronics energy efficient.

Considering most states of matter if you exclude the four fundamental states, the most useful matter may be supercritical fluid as it is involved in a wide variety of industrial applications.
However, when you consider the potential of other states of matter, Photonic Matter may be used for quantum computers and Jahn-Teller metal for magnetic levitation trains to household energy efficient home appliances.

  • $\begingroup$ Which one is the most used and what are the applications? $\endgroup$
    – Asker123
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 21:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The answer would most likely be from your opinions, you should be able to make your own conclusion from this research, nevertheless I also answered your question based on my opinion. Hope you appreciate my answer :p $\endgroup$
    – čaritisio
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ Like I said, I do not have any opinions, just enquiry. $\endgroup$
    – Asker123
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 21:43

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