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# An introduction to the thermodynamics of ideal gases

Definitions Working substance (WS) = the WS is used as the carrier for heat energy. The state of the WS is defined by the values of its properties, e.g. pressure, volume, temperature, internal energy, enthalpy. These properties are also sometimes called functions of state. Key facts An ideal gas is a WS which obeys Boyle's law, Charles' law, Amontons' law, Avogadro's law, Joule's law of internal energy, Dalton's law of partial pressures, and has a constant specific heat. Boyle's law states that if , then: Charles' law states that if Amontons' law states that if The combined gas law affirms that: The ideal gas law can be written for moles of gas as: where is the universal gas constant. Avogadro's law states that equal volumes of gas contain, at the same temperature and pressure, the same number of molecules. Joule's law of internal energy states that the internal energy of an ideal gas is independent of its pressure and volume, and depends only on its temperature. Dalton's law of partial pressures affirms that the total pressure exerted by a gaseous mixture is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of each individual component of that mixture. The heat capacity at constant pressure is related to the heat capacity at constant volume by: where is the universal gas constant. The heat capacity ratio is defined as: , then: , then:

The change in internal energy of moles of an ideal gas undergoing a change in temperature of is given by: The change in enthalpy of moles of an ideal gas undergoing a change in temperature of is given by:

Avogadro's law. Expressed in mathematical terms.nasa.grc. these gases are called semi-perfect gases. Charles' law. Therefore. oxygen. Figure 1 (http://www. Joule's law of internal energy. Therefore. the WS would not be able to change its state even at absolute zero. which shows the inverse proportionality between pressure and volume when mass and temperature are kept constant.Constants An ideal gas is a working substance (WS) which obeys Boyle's law. Amontons' law. nitrogen) closely obey these laws. hydrogen. the permanent gases (e. Dalton's law of partial pressures. At normal temperatures and pressures. Ideal Gas Laws Boyle's law (also sometimes called Boyle-Mariotte's law) states that if the temperature of a fixed mass of gas is kept constant. then its pressure is inversely proportional to its volume. then: (1) Boyle's law is illustrated in Figure 1 (to see the animation click on the thumbnail). Boyle's law affirms that if is constant. and has a constant specific heat. the molecules of the WS would need to be so far apart that there are no intermolecular forces and no collisions.gov) .g. In order to obey all these laws.

Figure 2 (http://www.gov) Amontons' law (also known as the pressure-temperature law) states that if the volume of a fixed mass of gas is kept constant. then: (3) Boyle's law.grc. then its pressure is directly proportional to its temperature. which states that the ratio between the pressure-volume product and the temperature of a fixed mass of gas remains constant. this law affirms that if is constant. and represents the equation of state of an ideal gas.nasa. as: (6) where is a constant called the universal gas constant. Charles' law. then: (2) Charles' law is depicted in Figure 2 (to see the animation click on the thumbnail). and Amontons' law can be associated to devise the so-called combined gas law. this means that if is constant. which highlights the direct proportionality between volume and temperature when mass and pressure are kept constant.Charles' law (also sometimes called Charles and Gay-Lussac's law) states that if the pressure of a fixed mass of gas is kept constant. that: (4) The combined gas law can be expressed more generally for moles of gas as: (5) or. Equation (6) is named the ideal gas law. The value of in imperial is: (7) . furthermore. Translated into mathematical terms. Expressed in mathematical terms. or. then its volume is directly proportional to its temperature. in mathematical terms.

the same number of molecules. at the same temperature and pressure. and number of components of the gaseous mixture.while in metric it is: (8) We can also define the specific gas constant of a gas as the ratio between the universal gas constant and the molar mass of that gas: (9) For example. Avogadro's law can be expressed in mathematical terms as: (14) where is the volume of the gas. and the number of moles of the gas. which states that equal volumes of gas contain. This can be written in mathematical terms as: (16) where is the total pressure. In mathematical terms this means that the internal energy is a function of the absolute temperature : (15) Yet another law characteristic of ideal gases is Dalton's law of partial pressures. is the partial pressure of component . Joule's law of internal energy states that the internal energy of an ideal gas is independent of its pressure and volume. which states that the total pressure exerted by a gaseous mixture is equal to the sum of the partial pressure of each individual component of that mixture. expressed in alternative units: (11) (12) (13) Another characteristic law of ideal gases is Avogadro's law. and depends only on its temperature. is the total . the specific gas constant of dry air is: (10) or.

and the specific heat at constant pressure. In the case of gases. and depends only on its temperature (see Joule's law of internal energy. by considering the datum as absolute zero: (22) Now imagine a heating process at constant pressure. the heat capacity at constant volume. we obtain that: (20) However. The heat added to the WS in this case (the specific heat at constant pressure) is given by: (23) where is the heat capacity at constant pressure. the first law of thermodynamics (17) becomes: (25) . the specific heat depends on the way in which the gas is heated. However. if it is allowed to do work. and the change in temperature. Taking into account that the ideal gas law (6) can also be written as: (24) and also considering equations (21) and (23). For example. the work done by the system is given by: (18) while the heat added to the WS during a process at constant volume (the specific heat at constant volume) can be written as: (19) where is the number of moles of the WS. equation 15). then the specific heat must be greater.Specific Heat Of Ideal Gases The (molar) specific heat is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one mole of substance by one degree. Imagine a heating process at constant volume. The first law of thermodynamics states that the change in internal energy of a system is equal to the heat added to the system minus the work done by the system: (17) In our case. We can imagine therefore an infinite number of specific heats. By using (18) and (19) in equation (17). we will consider only two of them: the specific heat at constant volume. Therefore. equation (20) becomes: (21) or. we previously saw that the internal energy of an ideal gas is independent of its pressure and volume.

while for polyatomic gases is approximately . the universal gas constant relates the heat capacity at constant volume heat capacity at constant pressure . let the ratio between and be denoted by : to the (28) where is called the heat capacity ratio. furthermore: (31) As (see equation 27). The value of varies depending on the degrees of freedom of the gas. for diatomic gases (which have two degrees of rotational freedom) is . Enthalpy Of Ideal Gases We know that the change in enthalpy of a system can be written as: (29) Taking into account equations (21) and (24). for monoatomic gases (which have only one degree of rotational freedom) is approximately . while diatomic gases can rotate about their own axis. equation (31) becomes: (32) By considering the datum as absolute zero. monoatomic gases can rotate only about their own axis. Also. which in turn is related to its atomic composition. we obtain the enthalpy of an ideal gas as: . furthermore.from which we obtain that: (26) or. the change in enthalpy of an ideal gas becomes: (30) or. as well as the two atoms of the molecule about each other. For example. Hence. that: (27) Hence.