What is meant by partial pressure of oxygen?

1 Answer
Feb 10, 2017

Answer:

In a gaseous mixture, the #"partial pressure"# of a gas is the pressure that gas would exert if it ALONE occupied the container.

Explanation:

The total pressure is the sum of the individual partial pressures.

And so when we have a gaseous mixture of several gases, #A#, #B#, and #C#.........

#P_"Total"=P_A+P_B+P_C...................#

And to assess #P#, we may simply use the ideal gas equation:

#P_"Total"= (n_ART)/V+(n_BRT)/V+(n_CRT)/V...................#

#P_"Total"=(RT)/V{n_A+n_B+n_C..............}#

and clearly, #P_A=P_A/P_"Total"=n_A/{n_A+n_B+n_C..............}#

And thus the partial pressure of a component is proportional to the mole fraction of that component.

The air we breathe now is approx. #1*atm# pressure (unless you live in Denver).

And thus #P_"Total"=P_"dioxygen"+P_"dinitrogen"+P_"other gases"#

And so #P_"dioxygen"=0.20*atm#. #P_"dinitrogen"=0.78*atm#

#P_"dinitrogen"+P_"dioxygen"~=1*"atm"#