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How do gases compare with liquids and solids in terms of the distance between their molecules ?

Posted on 2007-03-31
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hi,
i am working on a project and i am stuck on this topic.
How do gases compare with liquids and solids in terms of the distance between their molecules ?

thanks
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Question by:c_hockland
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Zyloch earned 1000 total points
ID: 18831188
Gases molecules are far more apart than solids and liquids. A substance becomes a gas when its molecules have enough energy to escape from any attraction to each other. The collision theory assumes these gas molecules are like little spheres that move randomly and bounce off other objects.

In general, 1 mole of a gas at 0 degrees Celsius and 1 atmosphere of pressure has a volume of 22.4L (low density). Compare that to liquid water, which has a density of about 1 g/mL. 1 mole of liquid water would only be about 18 mL! Liquids and solids are clearly seen to have all their molecules seemingly attached to each other; they are condensed into a small space and are thus distinctly visible with clear boundaries. Gas molecules have no such restrictions.

In particular, if you increase the pressure on a gas enough, the volume decreases, the molecules will not have enough room to move away from each other and will end up sticking to one another. They will in effect become a solid or a liquid. Thus, gas molecules can be seen to be much farther apart than those of solids and liquids.
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Assisted Solution

neopolitan earned 1000 total points
ID: 18832724
Solid, liquid, gas and plasma are the different states of the matter. Solids hold their shape.The molecules of a solid don't move around very much. They tend to stay relatively close to each other. Liquids donot hold their shape and therefore,they flow. However, at the same temperature,  liquids do keep the same volume. The molecules of a liquid move around relative to each other.  But they are still bound to each other through intermolecular forces.These forces hold liquid molecules together. Gases donot keep their shape or volume. Gas molecules donot interact much and are not held together strongly.

When heat is applied, the kinetic energy of the molecules increase; in a solid, the molecules will start moving around relative to each other, and when this happens, the solid melts to become liquid. If heated further,the liquid  molecules start moving so fast that the intermolecular pressure becomes negligible, the liquid becoming gas.

The difference between the different states is not just the difference in molecular separation, but also in intermolecular forces and kinetic energies. Kinetic molecular theory of matter explains these points:
http://online.redwoods.cc.ca.us/instruct/milo/6/sld005.htm

http://itl.chem.ufl.edu/2041_f97/lectures/lec_g.html

http://www.che.ilstu.edu/teach.chem/Teach.chem%20CD%20burning%202002%20ISU/Charles%20Lee%20-%20Intro%20to%20Kinetic%20Theory/Intro%20Kinetic-Molecular%20Theory/Kinetic-Molecular%20Theory%20of%20Matter.ppt

http://www.chem.arizona.edu/~salzmanr/480a/480ants/kmtmod/kmtmod.html

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