By a change of temperature and pressure combined, a substance can in general be made to pass from one state into another; thus by gradually increasing the temperature a solid piece of ice can be melted into the liquid state of water, and the water again can be boiled off into the gaseous state as steam.
Again, by raising the temperature, a metal in the solid state can be melted and liquefied, and poured into a mould to assume any form desired, which is retained when the metal cools and solidifies again; the gaseous state of a metal is revealed by the spectroscope.
A certain critical temperature is observed in a gas, above which the liquefaction is impossible; so that the gaseous state has two subdivisions into (i.)a true gas, which cannot be liquefied, because its temperature is above the critical temperature, (ii.) a vapour, where the temperature is below the critical, and which can ultimately be liquefied by further lowering of temperature or increase of pressure.