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Under what conditions do real gases behave ideally?


Real gases sometimes don't obey the ideal gas laws because the ideal gas model is based on some assumptions that aren't completely true.

The main flaw in the ideal gas model is the assumption that gas molecules do not attract or repel each other. Attractions and repulsions are negligible when the distance between molecules is large, but they do become larger as the molecules become closer together. If you can contrive conditions that force the molecules into close contact, so that attractions and repulsions can't be neglected, you will likely see deviations from ideal behavior.

You would expect that when the gas had a high molar volume, the molecules would be far apart and the gas would behave ideally. Conversely, changing conditions to produce a higher density would bring the molecules closer together, and attractions and repulsions betwee molecules might cause deviations from ideal behavior.

Since molar volume V/n = RT/P, decreasing the pressure and/or increasing the temperature will cause the molecules to move farther apart on average. That should cause the gas to behave more ideally.

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



General Chemistry Online! Under what conditions do real gases behave ideally?

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
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Last Revised 02/15/10.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/gases/faq/real-vs-ideal-conditions.shtml