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Student Exploration- Temperature and Particle Motion (ANSWER KEY)

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You are on page 1of 3

Vocabulary: absolute zero, Kelvin scale, kinetic energy, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, molar

mass, molecule, temperature, universal gas constant

Air consists of tiny particles called molecules. How do you think the molecules move in hot and in

cold air?

Gizmo Warm-up

The Temperature and Particle Motion Gizmo™ illustrates how the molecules of gas move at

different temperatures. In this Gizmo, temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale, which

measures temperature from absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature (-273.15 °C). Each

unit on the Kelvin scale is equivalent to 1 °C: 273.15 K = 0 °C, and 373.15 K = 100 °C.

Check that the selected gas is Hydrogen and the Temperature is 300 K.

Activity A:

Get the Gizmo ready:

the Temperature is set to 300 K.

Molecular motions

Question: How is the temperature of a gas related to the motion of gas molecules?

Observe: Move the Temperatureslider back and forth. Focus on the particle motion at left.

Analyze: The temperature of a substance is a measure of the average kinetic energyof its particles

(kinetic energy is the energy of motion). The kinetic energy (KE) of a particle is equal to its mass

times the square of its velocity, divided by two:

Based on the formula for kinetic energy, how will the temperature change if you increase the

average velocity of the molecules in a gas? ______________________

How will the temperature change if you increase the mass of the gas molecules?

Predict: Oxygen molecules are sixteen times as massive as hydrogen molecules. At the same

temperature, which type of molecule would you expect to move faster? Explain.

Check: Test your prediction by choosing Oxygen from the Select a gas menu.

Explain: Based on the definition of temperature given above, explain why oxygen molecules move

more slowly than hydrogen molecules at the same temperature.

Activity B:

Get the Gizmo ready:

Average Set the Temperature to 300 K.

particle

velocity

Introduction: The graph on the right side of the Gizmo represents the Maxwell-Boltzmann

distribution of particle velocities. The curve represents the probability of a particle moving at the

velocity shown on the x-axis of the graph. The higher the curve, the greater the probability of finding

a particle moving at that velocity will be.

Observe: Move the Temperatureslider back and forth. This time focus on the graph at right.

Analyze: Look at the left side of the graph as you raise the temperature from 50 to 1,000 K.

Even at the highest temperatures, are there still a few slow particles? ____ ___

Estimate: Because particles have a range of velocities at any given temperature, it is useful to

calculate the average velocity. Physicists express the average velocity in three ways: most probable

velocity (vp), mean velocity (), and root mean square velocity (vrms).

Set the temperature to 200 K (the selected gas should still be Hydrogen).

Estimate the most probable velocity by looking at the peak of the curve. What is your estimate?

Base on the shape of the curve, do you think most of the particles are moving faster or slower than

the most probable velocity?

Predict: The mean velocity is the average velocity of all of the particles. Based on the shape of the

curve and your answer to the previous question, do you expect the mean velocity to be greater than

or less than the most probable velocity? Explain your reasoning.

Was your prediction correct?

Experiment: Try a variety of other gases and temperatures. Is the mean velocity always greater than

the most probable velocity? _____________ __________

Calculate: Turn off Show most probable velocity and Show mean velocity. Select Hydrogen and

set the Temperature to 100 K. You can calculate the most probable velocity (vp), mean velocity (),

and root mean square velocity (vrms) using the following formulas:

In each formula, R stands for the universal gas constant, or 8.3144 J / K mol, T stands for Kelvin

temperature, and M stands for the molar mass, in kg / mol. Hydrogen gas (H2) has a molar mass of

0.002016 kg / mol.

Check by turning on Show most probable velocity. Were you correct? ____ ______

Check by turning on Show root mean square velocity. Were you correct?

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