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Characteristics of Non-living Things

Characteristics of Non-living things

Introduction to Characteristics of Non-living things

The world consists of both living and non living things. Any object that does not possess “Life” or living characteristics is a non living thing. A living cell is made up of a number of organic and inorganic chemical substances that are themselves nonliving, yet when present in the living body become vital constituents.


Characteristics of Nonliving Things

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The basic Characteristics of Non-living things are described as following -

  • The most important characteristic of nonliving things is the absence of  protoplasm, the fundamental basis of life. For example, cells are absent in stones or any non living things.
  • Due to the absence of protoplasm, no metabolic activities are possible in the nonliving things.
  • The structural organization like tissue, organ or system is never found in nonliving things.
  • The nonliving things usually do not have any definite form or size of their own. Liquids assume the shape of the container. A liquid like water when heated changes into the gaseous state or can be even frozen into the solid state and thus it has no definite form.
  • The movement, if observed, is never automatic but occurs under any other external influence.
  • Another Characteristics of Non-living things is that growth occurs by accretion, i.e. by addition of materials from outside. For example a crystal in a solution or a snowball may grow larger in size due to the accumulation of particles of its own unit on the outer surface of the original body.
  • The absence of nutrition, excretion, respiration, reproduction, irritability and adaptation are the characteristics of nonliving things.
  • The unlimited duration of existence or immortality is a vital characteristic of nonliving things.

Classification Based on Characteristics of Non Living Things

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All non living matters on the earth can be classified into two primary types based on the characteristic of nonliving things.

  • Nonliving things which were never part of a living entity. Glass, stone or gold or any chemical elements are all such examples.
  • Nonliving things which though are presently non living but were once a part of living entity. Best example is of coal that was formed as a result of death and decomposition of living plants. Paper is itself non-living thing, but it is also made from trees.

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