SfC Home > Physical Science > Physics > Matter >

Key words: matter, properties, atoms, molecules, protons, electrons, photons, sub-atomic particles, space, gravity, mass, force, antimatter, dark matter, physical science, physics, ,Ron Kurtus, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

# Definition of Matter

by Ron Kurtus (revised 10 July 2013)

Matter is defined as anything that takes up space and has mass.

The property of taking up space means that an object has a measurable volume. Mass is a property of matter that indicates how much force is required to move the object.

There are also variations of matter, such as antimatter and dark matter.

Questions you may have include:

• How does matter take up space?
• What is mass?
• What are the variations of matter?

This lesson will answer those questions.

Useful tool: Metric-English Conversion

## Matter takes up space

Particles of matter have size and take up space. At the very least, all matter has three dimensions: length, width and height. This is somewhat obvious when you look at various objects around you. They all take up space.

Note: There are theories that matter may consist of many more dimensions. Since we consist of matter and also are 3-dimensional objects, we cannot experience or measure other dimensions except through mathematical theories.

Measurements have been made of the diameter of various atoms and the space they take up. It is assumed that the various subatomic particles also have a physical size and take up space.

Joke:
Teacher to student: "What's matter?"
Student: "Nothing's the matter. Everything's fine.

## Matter has mass

Matter has mass, but mass is difficult to define. One circular definition is that mass is how much matter there is in an object. Since mass is a very fundamental property, like distance and time, it can only be defined indirectly.

Quantities of matter will attract each other through a gravitation force related to the amount of mass in the objects. Likewise, the inertia of an object is dependent on its mass.

Typically, we use matter as a catch-all term related to objects, while we use mass to describe what happens to the matter.

## Variations of matter

There are types of matter different than the ordinary forms.

### Antimatter

Antimatter particles have the same mass as their corresponding subatomic particle, except that they have the opposite electrical charge and sometimes opposite spin.

Common antimatter particles are the positron, antiproton, and antineutron.

The positron has the same mass as an electron, but it has a positive (+) electrical charge instead of a negative (−) charge.

An antiproton is the same as a proton, except that it has a negative (−) electrical charge instead of a positive (+) charge.

An antineutron has a spin component in the opposite direction of a neutron. These particles are still matter.

### Dark matter

Another variation of matter, called dark matter, is still a theory. Astronomical measurements indicate that some galaxies have more mass than is observed. The theory is that there exists some sort of "dark matter" that cannot be seen but that has an influence on the gravity of those galaxies.

## Summary

Matter is anything that takes up space and has mass. Taking up space means that an object has a measurable volume. Mass indicates how much force is required to move the object. Variations of matter include antimatter and dark matter.

Make things matter

## Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

### Websites

Physics Resources

### Books

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

## Students and researchers

www.school-for-champions.com/science/matter_definition.htm

## Where are you now?

School for Champions

Physics topics

## Matter topics

### Let's make the world a better place

Be the best that you can be.

Use your knowledge and skills to help others succeed.

Don't be wasteful; protect our environment.

### Live Your Life as a Champion:

Seek knowledge and gain skills

Do excellent work

Be valuable to others

Have utmost character

#### Be a Champion!

The School for Champions helps you become the type of person who can be called a Champion.