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Section E: Solids, Liquids and Gases

1. Density is a measure of how tightly packed matter is in a particular substance. To calculate the
density of the substance an object is made from you must divide the mass of the object by the volume
of the object. The units of density are kilograms per cubic metre or grams per cubic centimetre.

2. In every case divide the mass of the object by its volume:

a) Measure mass on an electronic balance, measure length, l, breadth, b, and height, h, of the block
with a half-metre rule and calculate the volume using V = l × b × h.
b) If the object is small, use an electronic balance to measure the mass of ten of the same object.
Then divide the reading by ten to find the mass of just one of them. Now measure the diameter,
d, with callipers (three times and take an average) and calculate volume using:
V = π d2/4.
c) Measure mass on an electronic balance, measure the volume by a displacement method;
submerging the stone completely in a beaker filled to the brim with water and collecting the spilt
water in a measuring cylinder calibrated in cm3.

3. a) Pressure = force acting on a surface ÷ the area of the surface.

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b) Pascal (Pa). 1 Pa = 1 N/m2.

4. a) 2.6 kg × 10 N/kg = 26 N. Remember gravitational field strength and acceleration due to gravity
have the same numerical value.
b) Maximum pressure (when standing on smallest face) is 26N ÷ 40cm2  0.65 Pa.
Minimum pressure: 0.325 Pa.

5. a) In a) the pressure acting on each side of X is equal. In b) the pressure acting from the column of
water on the right-hand side is greater than the pressure of the water in the left-hand column.
b) If the water in the set up in a) was at rest, it will stay at rest. In b) the water will move from the
right-hand side to the left-hand side because of the pressure difference. The water will flow
backwards and forwards between the two sides until the stored potential energy is dissipated as
sound and heat. The water will then come to rest with the same level in both sides, as in a).

6. This is true provided that the fluid (gas or liquid) is at rest. The movement of particles within fluids
at rest is a continuous random motion with equal numbers of particles moving in any direction on
average. This means that the pressure exerted in any direction at a point in a stationary fluid will be
the same.

7. a) Pressure, p = hρg. Therefore, atmospheric pressure is 101 293 Pa (to the nearest whole number).
In the exam you will be given g = 10 N/kg or 10m/s2 which would give the more approximate
answer 103 360 Pa.
b) The height of the mercury column would fall a little.
c) Mercury is a much denser than water. The column of water supported by atmospheric pressure
in a similar arrangement would be around 10 m high (which is not very convenient!).

8. When a solid substance is heated to its melting point it starts to turn into a liquid. When it has all
melted, further heating will raise the temperature speeding up the process called evaporation by

which the substance changes state to a gas. When the temperature of the substance reaches its boiling
point the temperature remains constant until all of the substance has changed state from liquid to gas.

9. Evaporation can take place at any temperature whereas boiling can only occur at the specific boiling
point of the substance.


Property Solids Liquids Gases

Has a definite shape YES NO NO

Easily compressed NO NO YES

Relative density HIGH HIGH LOW

Can be poured (fluid) NO YES YES

Expands to fill all available space NO NO YES

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Key points:
The molecules are closely spaced in solids and liquids, whereas in gases the molecules are widely
In liquids and gases molecules move randomly, whereas in solids they vibrate about fixed positions.

12. Jiggling motion is due to the impacts of tiny particles (too small to see). The particles must be
continuously moving in a random way. The particles must be moving fast for their impacts to have a
visible effect on the much larger smoke particles.

13. The behaviour of gases is explained in terms of the movement of the molecules of the gas; a theory
called the kinetic theory of gases.
a) Pressure is the result of large numbers of impacts from gas molecules, each of which exerts a
tiny force dependent on the speed at which it collides with the walls of the container. On
average, the sum of all these tiny forces over an area results in pressure. As the motion is
random this average is the same in any direction.

b) The result of transferring energy to the gas molecules by heating the gas, is the increase of the
average kinetic energy of the molecules in the gas. An increase in the average KE increases the
average speed of the gas molecules which then strike the walls of the container more frequently.
This results in an increase in the average force exerted on any area of the container wall and
hence an increase in pressure.
c) They move more slowly on average.
d) Yes, absolute zero. Once the gas is cooled to the point that the molecules are no longer moving
it is impossible to reduce their kinetic energy any further.


15. T1 = 250 K (-23 + 273) T2 = 500 K. Since P1/T1 = P2/T2, doubling the absolute temperature must
double the pressure exerted by the gas on the container walls provided the volume of the container
remains constant.

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16. If the volume of the car tyres is approximately constant then the fall in temperature will result in a
drop in the pressure exerted by the air in the tyre.

17. So, P1/T1 = P2/T2 P1 = P2/T2 × T1.

18. Use the above equation rearranged to give: T2 = P2/P1 × T1

So, T2 = 300Kpa/200Kpa = 283K. Therefore the new temperature is 425 K or 152°C.

19. a) As the temperature of the trapped gas is increased, the gas pressure will increase meaning the
pressure acting down on the surface of the mercury in the left-hand side of the U-tube will be
greater than atmospheric pressure. Since the mercury is free to move, the level will fall in the
left-hand side tube and rise in the right-hand side tube. When the trapped gas is at a steady
temperature of 100°C the volume will stop expanding and the levels of mercury in the U tube
will stop changing. By measuring the difference in height of the mercury in each side of the U-
tube you can calculate how much greater than atmospheric pressure the pressure of the hot
trapped gas now is.
b) For this you need to use the formula: P2 = P1/12 × T2 So, P2 = 76 cm Hg/273 K × 373 K
This gives the new value of pressure for the gas as 104 cm Hg (to the nearest whole number).
This means that the difference in the mercury levels will be 28 cm with the right-hand level
being above the left-hand level. Note that it is most convenient to express the pressure in this
question as an equivalent height of mercury (Hg is the chemical symbol for the element
mercury). The new pressure of the gas is balanced by atmospheric pressure (equivalent to 76 cm
of mercury) plus the extra 28 cm Hg in the right-hand side of the U-tube.

20. As the pressure of the atmosphere decreases the volume of air in the balloon will increase, provided
the temperature remains constant.

21. The pressure exerted upwards on the trapped air in the diving bell increases with the depth of the
driving bell as it is lowered. Since pressure × volume is constant for a fixed mass of gas at a constant
temperature, increasing the pressure on the gas in the diving bell will result in a decrease in the
volume it occupies.

22. a) p1 × V1 = p2 × V2.
b) Substitute the known values in the equation, then calculate the initial pressure of the gas before
it was expanded, p1 × 40 cm3 = 25 kPa × 200 cm3  125 kPa.
c) Since the pressure of the gas is initially greater than the atmospheric pressure on the right-hand
side of the piston I would expect the trapped gas to expand pushing the piston to the right, out of
the cylinder. As the piston is pushed out the volume occupied by the trapped gas increases and
so the pressure of the gas decreases. The piston will stop moving when the pressure of the
trapped gas is equal to the exterior (atmospheric) pressure.
If the piston had been released when the gas was expanded the reverse direction would have
been observed.
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