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Chemistry LibreTexts

11: Gases

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  • Of the three basic phases of matter—solids, liquids, and gases—only one of them has predictable physical properties: gases. In fact, the study of the properties of gases was the beginning of the development of modern chemistry from its alchemical roots. The interesting thing about some of these properties is that they are independent of the identity of the gas. That is, it doesn’t matter if the gas is helium gas, oxygen gas, or sulfur vapors; some of their behavior is predictable and, as we will find, very similar. In this chapter, we will review some of the common behaviors of gases. Gases have no definite shape or volume; they tend to fill whatever container they are in. They can compress and expand, sometimes to a great extent. Gases have extremely low densities, one-thousandth or less the density of a liquid or solid. Combinations of gases tend to mix together spontaneously; that is, they form solutions. Air, for example, is a solution of mostly nitrogen and oxygen. Any understanding of the properties of gases must be able to explain these characteristics.

    • 11.1: Extra-Long Straws
      A drinking straw is a tube for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker. A thin tube of plastic (such as polypropylene and polystyrene) or other material, straight or with an angle-adjustable bellows segment, it is used by being held with one end in the mouth and another end in the drink. Muscular action reduces air pressure in the mouth and above the liquid in the straw, whereupon atmospheric pressure forces the beverage through the straw.
    • 11.2: Kinetic Molecular Theory- A Model for Gases
      The physical behavior of gases is explained by the kinetic theory of gases. An ideal gas adheres exactly to the kinetic theory of gases.
    • 11.3: Pressure- The Result of Constant Molecular Collisions
      Pressure is a force exerted over an area. Pressure has several common units that can be converted.
    • 11.4: Boyle’s Law- Pressure and Volume
      Boyle’s law relates a gas’s pressure and volume at constant temperature and amount.
    • 11.5: Charles’s Law- Volume and Temperature
      Charles’s law relates a gas’s volume and temperature at constant pressure and amount. In gas laws, temperatures must always be expressed in kelvins.
    • 11.6: Gay-Lussac's Law- Temperature and Pressure
      Gay-Lussac's Law states that the pressure of a given mass of gas varies directly with the absolute temperature of the gas, when the volume is kept constant. Gay-Lussac's Law is very similar to Charles's Law, with the only difference being the type of container. Whereas the container in a Charles's Law experiment is flexible, it is rigid in a Gay-Lussac's Law experiment.
    • 11.7: The Combined Gas Law- Pressure, Volume, and Temperature
      One thing we notice about all the gas laws is that, collectively, volume and pressure are always in the numerator, and temperature is always in the denominator. This suggests that we can propose a gas law that combines pressure, volume, and temperature. This gas law is known as the combined gas law. This allows us to follow changes in all three major properties of a gas.
    • 11.8: Avogadro’s Law- Volume and Moles
      The original statement of Avogadro’s law states that equal volumes of different gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same number of particles of gas. Because the number of particles is related to the number of moles, Avogadro’s law essentially states that equal volumes of different gases at the same temperature and pressure contain the same amount (moles, particles) of gas.
    • 11.9: The Ideal Gas Law- Pressure, Volume, Temperature, and Moles
      The ideal gas law relates the four independent physical properties of a gas at any time. The ideal gas law can be used in stoichiometry problems whose chemical reactions involve gases. Standard temperature and pressure (STP) are a useful set of benchmark conditions to compare other properties of gases. At STP, gases have a volume of 22.4 L per mole. The ideal gas law can be used to determine densities of gases.
    • 11.10: Mixtures of Gases- Why Deep-Sea Divers Breathe a Mixture of Helium and Oxygen
      The pressure of a gas in a gas mixture is termed the partial pressure. Dalton’s law of partial pressure says that the total pressure in a gas mixture is the sum of the individual partial pressures. Collecting gases over water requires that we take the vapor pressure of water into account. Mole fraction is another way to express the amounts of components in a mixture.
    • 11.11: Gases in Chemical Reactions