What is an ideal gas?

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Paul G. Share
Dec 22, 2017


An ideal gas is a gas that does not possess any significant intermolecular attraction to other molecules.


No gas is perfectly ideal, but it is helpful to think of gases as being ideal because it allows us to assume that equal volumes of any gas are made up of equal amounts of particles
This assumption arises from a couple of ideas:

  1. the distance between gaseuous particles is so great in comparison to the atomic radii that we can assume that the radii of all gaseousous substances round to zero when compared to the distance between particles (ie. all particles behave the same regardless of size)
  2. Because the particles are so distant from one another, they encounter each other very infrequently (ie. "never" encounter one another and don't interact). This means that attraction of particles to one another is essentially the same regardless of their varying characteristics (ie polar, non-polar)
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