Ideal Gas and Kinetic Theory of Gases. We said earlier that temperature is a measure of the kinetic energy of the molecules in a material, but we didn’t elaborate on that remark. Because individual molecules are so small, and because there are so many molecules in most substances, it would be impossible to study their behavior individually. Generally, when substances are heated, their particles begin to move faster. In solids, molecules vibrate together; heat makes them vibrate harder
Ideal Gas and Kinetic Theory of Gases
Generally, when substances are heated, their particles begin to move faster. In solids, molecules vibrate together; heat makes them vibrate harder, and when the particles get hot enough, they vibrate together hard enough to break away from the molecule structure — this is called melting, like when ice melts into water.
In liquids, molecules tend to slide around each other; when they are heated, they start to bounce off of each other, and the liquid mass expands. If they bump off of each other hard enough, they too can break away from their molecule structure, and float about independently as a gas molecule — that’s called evaporation, like when you heat water and steam is produced.
Gas molecules tend to bounce off of each other; when they are heated, the gas mass expands because they bounce off of each other harder.
However, if we know the basic rules that govern the behavior of individual molecules, we can make statistical calculations that tell us roughly how a collection of millions of molecules would behave. This, essentially, is what thermal physics is: the study of the macroscopic effects of the microscopic molecules that make up the world of everyday things.
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