The student will:
- describe the relationship between molecular motion and temperature in Kelvin.
- describe random motion of gaseous molecules and explain how their collisions with surfaces cause pressure on the surface.
- recognize that zero kinetic energy of molecules corresponds to 0 K.
Gases are tremendously compressible, can exert massive pressures, expand nearly instantaneously into a vacuum, and fill every container they are placed in regardless of size. All of these properties of gases are due to their molecular arrangement and constant molecular motion.
Gases Readily Change Volume
Gases Exert Pressure
The constant random motion of gas molecules causes them to collide with each other and with the walls of their container. These collisions of gas molecules with their surroundings exert a pressure on the surroundings. When you blow up a balloon, the air particles inside the balloon push against the elastic sides of the balloon, causing the balloon to expand. This pressure is produced by air molecules pounding on the inside walls of the balloon.
When you look at the surface of a blown-up balloon, the balloon wall appears to be firm with no visible vibration or movement in its position. It is not apparent that the wall is actually being held in position by billions of collisions with tiny particles. If you place a book on its edge and tilt it over slightly so that it would fall, you can prevent the book from falling by tapping it very rapidly with your finger on the underside. Unlike the balloon surface, the book doesn’t stay steady because you can’t tap it fast enough to keep it exactly in one position. If you can imagine being able to tap it millions of times per second, you can see how the balloon wall maintains a steady position.
Gas Temperature and Kinetic Energy
These two videos contain a discussion of the relationship between absolute zero and kinetic energy (4a, 4f, 4g): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4sOfGKEaxs (4:03), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgyp94TZdqQ (5:55).
Flaws in videos:
- statement that temperature is related to average molecular velocity rather than average molecular kinetic energy.
- statement that the carbon dioxide molecule has an angular shape rather than linear shape.
- Gases readily change volume, as they are both expandable and compressible.
- Collisions of gas molecules with their surroundings exert a pressure on the surroundings.
- The relationship between temperature and the average kinetic energy of molecules can be expressed as KE=12mv2=32RT.
- Zero molecular kinetic energy corresponds to 0 K.
- Ball A has a mass of 4 daltons and a speed of 16 meters per second. Ball B has a mass of 16 daltons. What velocity is necessary for ball B to have the same kinetic energy as ball A?
- Suppose you blow up a balloon, tie off the opening, and place the balloon in a freezer for one hour. When you take the balloon out of the freezer, what will be the most significant difference in its appearance? What do you think will happen as the balloon sits out in the room for a while?
- Suppose you drive home from school on a hot day and check the pressure in your automobile tires when you get home. You find the tire pressure is over the manufacturer's recommended pressure, so you let some air out of the tires until the pressure is appropriate. What will the tire pressure be in the morning when you go out to go to school?
- Weather balloons are large balloons that are used to carry meteorological instruments up through the atmosphere and radio back measurements on weather conditions, such as temperature, pressure, and humidity, as it passes through many different altitudes. When these balloons are filled with helium before they are released from earth, they are only a little more than 10% the maximum capacity of the balloon. This provides enough lift to carry the instruments, but the balloon would have more lift if it were filled completely. Why don't they fill the weather balloons to maximum capacity?
- If molecules of H2 (molar mass=2), O2 (molar mass=32), and N2 (molar mass=28) are all placed in the same container at the same temperature, which molecules will have the greatest average kinetic energy?
- If molecules of H2 (molar mass=2), O2 (molar mass=32), and N2 (molar mass=28) are all placed in the same container at the same temperature, which molecules will have the greatest velocity?