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The Gas Laws

Property and
symbol
SI Unit
Symbol in
SI unit
Other Units
Pressure, P

pascal, (Nm
-2
)

Pa

N cm
-2
, cm Hg

Volume, V

(metre)
3
m
3

mm
3
, cm
3

Temperature, T

kelvin

K

C, F

For a gas in an enclosed container, the
(a) number of molecules is constant.
(b) mass of the gas is constant.
(c) behaviour of the gas depends on the volume, temperature and
pressure of the gas.

Property of
a gas

Explanation based on the kinetic theory

Volume
The molecules are moving freely in random motion.
Therefore the molecules fill up the whole space in the
container. The volume of the gas is equal to the volume of
the container
Temperature
The molecules are in continuous random motion. They have
an average kinetic energy that is proportional to the
temperature.
Pressure
The molecules are in continuous random motion. At every
instant, molecules collide with the walls of the container and
bounce back. There is a change in momentum and a force is
exerted on the walls. The total force per unit area is the
pressure of the gas.

The relationship between pressure, volume and temperature can be investigated
in three ways.

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Boyles Law
Boyles law gives the relationship between the pressure and volume of a fixed
mass of gas at constant temperature.

The relationship between pressure and volume can be explained using the
kinetic theory of gases:
(a) When the volume of a gas is decreased, the number of molecules per unit
volume increases.
(b) The same number of molecules moves in a smaller space.
(c) The molecules collide more frequently with the walls of the container.
(d) The increase in the rate of collision results in an increase in the pressure
exerted by the gas.
Boyles law states that for a fixed mass of gas, the volume of the gas is inversely
proportional to its pressure when the temperature is kept constant.
The mathematical expression for Boyles law is,

that is PV = constant, when the temperature is kept constant.
Consider a gas with initial pressure P
1
and volume V
1
. When the pressure is
changed to P
1
, the volume of the gas changes to V
2
.

According to Boyles law, when temperature is constant.

The relationship between pressure and volume can also be expressed with the
following graphs.

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The SI unit for temperature is kelvin (K). The common unit used is C. The
relationship between temperature in kelvin and degrees Celsius for three
common temperatures.

Temperatures in C can he converted to K by adding 273.

C = ( + 273) K

Examples:
An iron cylinder containing gas has a pressure of kPa when it is kept in a
store at temperature 27oC What is the pressure of the gas when the
cylinder is moved outdoors where the temperature is 40C?

P
1
=360 kPa T
1
= (27+273) = 300 K
P
2
= Final pressure = (40 + 273) = 313 K

Using the pressure law,

Therefore P
2
= 375.6 kPa

Charles Law
1. Charles law gives the relationship between the volume and temperature
of a fixed mass of gas at constant pressure.

2. The relationship between volume and temperature can be explained using
the kinetic theory of gases:
(a) When a gas is heated, the average kinetic energy of the molecules
increases. The temperature of the gas increases.
(b) The rate of collision between the molecules and the walls will
increase if the volume is constant.
(c) If the gas is allowed to expand, the faster molecules now move in a
bigger space.
(d) Therefore, the rate of collision between the molecules and the walls
remain constant and thus the pressure is constant.

3. When the pressure is kept constant, Charles Law states that for a fixed
mass of gas, the volume of the gas is directly proportional to its absolute
temperature.The mathematical expression for Charleslaw is

P
1
P
2

T
1

=
T
2

360 P
2

300
=
313
360x313
P
2
=
300
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4. Consider a gas with initial volume V, and temperature T
1.
When the
temperature changes to T
2
, the volume of the gas changes to V
2
.

5. According to the Charless law, when the pressure is constant.

6. The relationship between volume and absolute temperature can also be
expressed with the following graphs in Figure 4.61.

Example:
A syringe in a refrigerator contains 4.5 ml of air at -3C. When the syringe
was taken out and placed in a room where the temperature was 27C, the
air in it expands. Calculate the final volume of the air in the syringe.
V
1
= 4.5 ml T
1
= (-3 + 273) = 270 K
V
2
= Final volume T
2
= (27 + 273) = 300 K

Using the Charles law,

Therefore V
2
= 5.0 ml

Short Note

A fixed mass of gas has pressure, volume and temperature.
Boyles law states that for a fixed mass of gas, the pressure of the gas is
inversely proportional to its volume when the temperature is kept constant.

Charles law states that for a fixed mass of gas, the volume of the gas is
directly proportional to its absolute temperature when its pressure is kept
constant.
4.5 V
2

270
=
300
4.5 x300
V
2
=
270
5

The pressure law states that for a fixed mass of gas, the pressure of the
gas is directly proportional to its absolute temperature when its volume is
kept constant.

Gas Laws
Objective Question:

1. A flask contains air at a pressure of 150 kPa and temperature 27C.The
flask is then immersed in a hot water with a steady temperature of 87C.
Calculate the new value of the air pressure.

A 47 kPa
B 125 kPa
C 180 kPa
D 483 kPa

2.. The figure shows air trapped in a glass tube. Which of the following ways
can increase the length of the air column?
A The glass tube is heated.
B The open end of the tube is inclined upwards.
C There is an increase in atmospheric pressure.
D The mercury is replaced with concentrated sulphuric acid.

3. The volume of an air bubble in water is V at a depth of 10 m and V
2
at a
depth of 5 m. If the atmospheric pressure at the surface of the water is 10
m of water, what is the ratio of V
1
to V
2
?
A 4:3
B 3:4
C 2:1
D 1:2

4. Which physical quantity is a constant in all the three gas laws?
A Density
B Atmospheric pressure
C Mass

5. A fixed mass of gas in a closed container is heated. The following
statements are true except
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A the gas pressure increases.
B the average distance between molecules increases.
C the average kinetic energy of molecules increases.
D the frequency of collisions of the molecules increases.

Structure Questions:

1. A student wanted to use a flask as shown in Figure 1 to measure
temperature. The flask was placed in pure melting ice and then in steam.
The readings of the pressure gauge is given in Table 1.
.

Fixed point Temperature/
C
kPa
Ice point 0 110.0
Steam point 100 150.3
Table 1

(a) (i) Why is a flask with a large volume was used?
[1 mark]
(ii) Explain why the pressure did not give a zero reading at
temperature 0C.
[1 mark]
(b) (i) Sketch the graph of pressure against temperature.
[2 marks]
(ii) It the graph is extrapolated, at what temperature in 0C will
the pressure become zero?
[1 mark]
(iii) Name the temperature in (b)(ii) when the pressure of the air
becomes zero.
[1 mark]
(iv) Name the temperature scale that starts with zero at zero air
pressure [1 mark]
(v) State the gas law that relates the pressure of a gas and the
temperature measured with the scale in (b)(iv).
[1 mark]

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(c) Using the gas law in (b)(v), calculate the pressure of the air when
the flask is cooled to -23C.
[3 marks]

2. Figure 4 shows a manometer connected to a flask which is immersed in
water bath. Liquid Y is 14 cm in height and the water is 20 cm in height.
Before starting the experiment, the position of the level of liquid Y is
shown in Figure 4.

(a) Calculate the density of liquid Y.
[2 mark]

(b) When the flask is heated, the level of the mercury rises in the right
arm of the manometer.
i. Based on the kinetic theory of matter, explain the change
which occurs to the air in the flask.
[1 mark]

ii. State the principle of physics involved in the experiment.
[1 mark]

iii. What is the temperature of the air if the air pressure
becomes 6 x 10
5
Pa when the initial temperature of air in the
flask is 27C at a pressure of 5 x 10
5
Pa.
[1 mark]

(c) What is the change that occurs in the mercury level if a longer
rubber tube is used?
[1 mark]

(d) Why is an asbestos shield is placed between the manometer and
the water bath? [1 mark]

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Essay Questions

1. A diver near the bottom of the sea observed that air bubbles released by
him increase in size as he moved up towards the surface.Using this
observation;

(a) make one suitable inference,
[1 mark]

(b) state one appropriate hypothesis that could be investigated.
[1 mark]

(c) describe how you would design an experiment to test your
hypothesis using a thick glass syringe and other apparatus. In your
description, state clearly the following:

(i) aim of the experiment
(ii) variables in the experiment
(iii) list of apparatus and materials
(iv) arrangement of the apparatus
(v) the procedure of the experiment, which includes the method
of controlling the manipulated variable and the method of
measuring the responding variable
(vi) the way you would tabulate the data
(vii) the way you would analyse the data

[10 marks]