The kinetic theory of matter, also called the kinetic particle theory or simply the kinetic theory, differentiates the three states of matter based on their arrangement and physical characteristics as well as their distinct patterns of movement. There are three primary states of matter under which particles fall: solid, liquid and gas. These states are interrelated and exist simultaneously in the atmosphere, but contain important distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from one another.
The differences among objects in the three states of matter are described and explained through the kinetic theory. The kinetic theory breaks down the fundamental differences among solids, liquids and gases based on their arrangement and patterns of movements. Solid particles are generally heavier and exist in compact clusters. They are arranged in predictable patterns, and have limited movement, which is confined primarily to vibrations around a local position. Like solids, liquid elements exist in clusters, and stick close together in given spaces. Liquids, however, unlike solids, have a random pattern of movement. They have higher levels of energy and greater range of movement, which allows particles to orbit one another. Gas particles are spaced farthest apart in a given space, and like liquids have a random pattern of movement. Gas particles can move quickly, and have unpredictable patterns of movement.