# Explain Gay Lussac's law by means of a particle diagram?

Jan 9, 2016

Gay-Lussac's Law of Combining Volumes states that when gases combine in chemical reactions, their volumes are always in the ratio of small whole numbers.

#### Explanation:

Gay-Lussac found that 1 volume of nitrogen and 3 volumes of hydrogen always reacted to form 2 volumes of ammonia. (from www.molechemistry.info)

The volume ratios were always nitrogen:hydrogen:ammonia = 1:3:2.

Based on Gay-Lussac's results, Amedeo Avogadro theorized that equal volumes of gases at the same temperature and pressure contained equal numbers of molecules (Avogadro's law).

This meant that Gay-Lussac's results could be expressed as

$\underbrace{\text{nitrogen")_color(red)("1 molecule") + underbrace("hydrogen")_color(red)("3 molecules") → underbrace("ammonia")_color(red)("2 molecules}}$

If this were true, the results made sense only if nitrogen and hydrogen were diatomic molecules and ammonia had the formula $\text{NH"_3}$. (from molechemistry.info)

Suddenly, chemical reactions became understandable.

Chemists could write the reaction as

$\underbrace{\text{N"_2)_color(red)("1 Vol.") +underbrace color(black)("3H"_2)_color(red)("3 Vol.") → underbrace("2NH"_3)_color(red)("2 Vol.}}$