Under Which Conditions Of Temperature And Pressure Does A Real Gas Behave Most Like An Ideal Gas

The behavior of a molecule depends a lot on its structure. Two compounds with the same number of atoms can act very differently. Ethanol (left( ce{C_2H_5OH}
ight)) is a clear liquid that has a boiling point of about (79^ ext{o} ext{C}). Dimethylether (left( ce{CH_3OCH_3}
ight)) has the same number of carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens, but boils at a much lower temperature (left( -25^ ext{o} ext{C}
ight)). The difference lies in the amount of intermolecular interaction (strong (ce{H})-bonds for ethanol, weak van der Waals force for the ether).

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Real and Ideal Gases

An ideal gas is one that follows the gas laws at all conditions of temperature and pressure. To do so, the gas needs to completely abide by the kinetic-molecular theory. The gas particlesneed to occupy zero volume and theyneed to exhibit no attractive forces whatsoever toward each other. Since neither of those conditions can be true, there is no such thing as an ideal gas. A real gas is a gas that does not behave according to the assumptions of the kinetic-molecular theory. Fortunately, at the conditions of temperature and pressure that are normally encountered in a laboratory, real gases tend to behave very much like ideal gases.

Under what conditions then, do gases behave least ideally? When a gas is put under high pressure, its molecules are forced closer together as the empty space between the particles is diminished. A decrease in the empty space means that the assumption that the volume of the particles themselves is negligible is less valid. When a gas is cooled, the decrease in kinetic energy of the particles causes them to slow down. If the particles are moving at slower speeds, the attractive forces between them are more prominent. Another way to view it is that continued cooling of the gas will eventually turn it into a liquid and a liquid is certainly not an ideal gas anymore (see liquid nitrogen in the figure below). In summary, a real gas deviates most from an ideal gas at low temperatures and high pressures. Gases are most ideal at high temperature and low pressure.

See more: Is The Product Of Two Irrational Numbers Always Irrational Numbers (Video)

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