Section 9

GASES AND THE GAS LAWS

Ideal gas: A gas that obeys Boyle's law and Charles's law, and hence the Ideal gas equation.

Boyle's law: The pressure, p, of a fixed mass of gas is inversely proportional to its volume, V, at constant temperature (i.e. p1/V).

Charles's law: The volume, V, of a fixed mass of gas is proportional to its absolute temperature, T, at constant pressure (i.e. VT).

It is found experimentally that at constant pressure and temperature the volume of a gas is directly proportional to the amount of gas, n, and at constant volume and temperature the pressure is directly proportional to the amount of gas, n. Here are two graphs which show these facts clearly.

Avogadro's hypothesis: Equal volumes of different gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules (or atoms for monoatomic gases).
All this is expressed by the ideal gas equation.

Ideal gas equation: pV = nRT.   R is called the universal gas constant,
and has the value 8.314 J K−1 mol−1. This equation is particularly useful in determining the amount of a gas from its volume, pressure and temperature.


Ideal gas: a gas for which the individual molecules or atoms occupy negligible volume, and for which there are no attractive or repulsive forces between the molecules (or atoms).

Dalton's law of partial pressures: The total pressure of a mixture of gases is the sum of the partial pressures of the individual gases in the mixture. All real gases deviate from ideal behaviour, the deviation increasing with increasing p and decreasing T.

Partial pressure: The pressure that a particular gas in a mixture of gases would exert if it alone occupied the container.

The kinetic theory of gases makes the following assumptions for an ideal gas:

  1. Gases are made up of molecules whose sizes are negligible compared with the distance between them.
  2. There are no forces between the molecules (except in a collision).
  3. Between collisions the molecules are constantly moving in straight lines and their motion is completely random.
  4. The molecules are constantly colliding with one another and with the walls of the container, all collisions being elastic (i.e. no loss of kinetic energy).
  5. The collisions with the walls of the container give rise to the measured gas pressure.

Vapour: An alternative term for gas. It is usually used when it is in contact with the liquid form, solid form or solution of the same substance, or is at a temperature at which it could be made to condense by increasing its pressure. The term evaporation illustrates this.

In each of the following assume that the ideal gas equation is obeyed.