Since their particles have the maximum kinetic energy and the lowest interparticle forces of attraction, gases do not have specific volumes because their particles are completely free to move and do not have permanent locations. Thus there is no precise volume.
Since gases’ interparticle gaps are big and may be decreased by adding pressure during compression, gases can be compressed.
What Causes Gases To Lack Volume?
While gases have volume, it is not defined as it is for solids or liquids. I.e., a given volume of gas (say, x) taken in a solid of twice the volume (say, y) cannot take the volume x in container y; the volume occupied by a gas in a solid of a certain volume and shape is not the same in at least a solid of the same form and a different volume. It takes up the whole container’s capacity.
This is due to the low bonding energies of the molecules in a gas. Because of this, the molecules are far apart and have a tendency to fill the form of a solid.
Gases thus lack a precise volume.
Why Can Gas Be Compressed?
As compared to the intermolecular or interatomic distances in solids and liquids, the atoms or molecules of a gas are quite far apart.
The density of a given substance in solids and liquids is approximately 1000 times greater than in gases.
It is simple to narrow the gap between them because they are so far apart. Also, there isn’t much contact between the atoms or molecules of a gas, so there aren’t any forces that would push them closer together or farther away.
In other words, there aren’t any forces that would make compression difficult on the atoms or molecules.
In contrast, the intermolecular or interatomic attractions in solids and liquids are (relatively) strong.
Why is it difficult to compress them because of that? They are drawn to go as near as they can before other forces take over and stop them from doing so.
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Each atom or molecule’s outer layer is made up of the electrons from each. The more closely spaced electrons from various atoms or molecules are, the more strongly they reject one another until all attractive forces are balanced by this repulsive force.
Due to their location inside the electron cloud, the nuclei are not now significantly engaged.
As a result, there are powerful forces at work to prevent solid or liquid molecules from getting any closer together.
What Happens When Gases Are Compressed?
Fluids include gases as one example. Gas molecules move randomly at all times. A container may be regarded as a “system” if the gases are contained inside.
As gases are compressed, the system must undergo some work, which results in the following phenomena.
As a result of the system undergoing work, the work-energy theorem states that heat is produced as a result of the work’s conversion to heat energy.
As an easy illustration, imagine filling the tire tube of your bicycle with air. While you work on the gases or air, the air pump heats up.
The kinetic energy of the gas molecules increases as a result of the work done on the gases during compression.
This results in more frequent collisions between the gas molecules and between the gas molecules and the walls of the container in which it is enclosed, which raises the pressure inside the container.
Why Don’t Gases Have A Constant Volume?
The kinetic energy of molecules varies depending on the temperature. Electrostatic interactions between molecules provide weak forces that keep molecules bound as liquids or solids.
Since all of the molecules are in touch with one another, liquids and solids have more or less defined volumes [they are somewhat compressible and expand and contract with temperature].
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Because of their tight lattice structure and the inability of their molecules to pass one another, solids have a distinct form. As molecules may travel past one another, liquids lack a fixed structure.
As a result, they adopt the shape of the container, yet they do not fill it if their volume is smaller.
When a solid or liquid warms up, the molecules’ kinetic energies rise. As more molecules get enough energy to overcome the weak forces keeping them together, they begin to move independently within the volume.
The substance exhibits a temperature-dependent vapor pressure. The whole fraction turns into gas when there is not enough to keep the equilibrium VP at a certain temperature.
At this point, the molecules travel independently until they collide with another molecule or a constraining surface.
If there isn’t a significant force gradient in the volume, molecules collide with all of the constraining surfaces and motion is random in all directions.
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The volume is filled with gas. The collisions are skewed towards the direction of the stronger force when there is a force gradient, such as in the atmosphere or in a centrifuge.
When the gravitational pull weakens with altitude, the air density in the atmosphere drops.