What are ideal gas law conditions?

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Jeff C Share
Jun 29, 2014

The conditions for the Ideal Gas Law are
High Temperature, Low Pressure, High Volume, and gasses that have very little intermolecular force.

The ideal gas law "fails" when the pressure is high, the volume is low, the temperature is low, or there are significant intermolecular forces.

There are many conditions for a gas to be considered "ideal", and if those conditions are not met, we should not use the ideal gas law.

Instead, we should use other equations of state such as those that use compressibilty or other forms of "emperical" equations, but most students will not get to this unless they are chemistry or physics majors.

So... back to the ideal gas. An ideal gas is one that does not stick to other gas molecules or the container. We say they have "perfectly elastic" collisions. Molecules that have considerable inter molecular forces would not be good candidates for an ideal gas (such as NH3 that has hydrogen bonding and is very polar).

We assume that the gas molecules themselves do not take up any volume (or very little compared to the vol of the container). Therefore, we want V to be very large and P to be very small.

We assume they are energetic, so we want a high T.
So, in conclusion, the ideal gas law "fails" when the pressure is high, the volume is low, the temperature is low, or there are significant intermolecular forces.

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