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The figure is an illustration of a molecule hitting a wall. The molecule approaches the wall with velocity vector v, which is at some unspecified angle to the wall, and moves away from it with velocity vector v prime, at some unspecified angle. A force vector F points directly into the wall.
When a molecule collides with a rigid wall, the component of its momentum perpendicular to the wall is reversed. A force is thus exerted on the wall, creating pressure.

In a sample of gas in a container, the randomness of the molecular motion causes the number of collisions of molecules with any part of the wall in a given time to fluctuate. However, because a huge number of molecules collide with the wall in a short time, the number of collisions on the scales of time and space we measure fluctuates by only a tiny, usually unobservable fraction from the average. We can compare this situation to that of a casino, where the outcomes of the bets are random and the casino’s takings fluctuate by the minute and the hour. However, over long times such as a year, the casino’s takings are very close to the averages expected from the odds. A tank of gas has enormously more molecules than a casino has bettors in a year, and the molecules make enormously more collisions in a second than a casino has bets.

A calculation of the average force exerted by molecules on the walls of the box leads us to the ideal gas law and to the connection between temperature and molecular kinetic energy. (In fact, we will take two averages: one over time to get the average force exerted by one molecule with a given velocity, and then another average over molecules with different velocities.) This approach was developed by Daniel Bernoulli (1700–1782), who is best known in physics for his work on fluid flow (hydrodynamics). Remarkably, Bernoulli did this work before Dalton established the view of matter as consisting of atoms.

[link] shows a container full of gas and an expanded view of an elastic collision of a gas molecule with a wall of the container, broken down into components. We have assumed that a molecule is small compared with the separation of molecules in the gas, and that its interaction with other molecules can be ignored. Under these conditions, the ideal gas law is experimentally valid. Because we have also assumed the wall is rigid and the particles are points, the collision is elastic (by conservation of energy—there’s nowhere for a particle’s kinetic energy to go). Therefore, the molecule’s kinetic energy remains constant, and hence, its speed and the magnitude of its momentum remain constant as well. This assumption is not always valid, but the results in the rest of this module are also obtained in models that let the molecules exchange energy and momentum with the wall.

The figure is an illustration of a molecule hitting a wall of a box of depth l. The molecule approaches the wall with a velocity vector that has component v x perpendicular to and toward the wall and v y parallel to the wall, then and moves away from it with a velocity vector that has component v prime x perpendicular to and away from the wall and v prime y parallel to the wall.
Gas in a box exerts an outward pressure on its walls. A molecule colliding with a rigid wall has its velocity and momentum in the x -direction reversed. This direction is perpendicular to the wall. The components of its velocity momentum in the y - and z -directions are not changed, which means there is no force parallel to the wall.

If the molecule’s velocity changes in the x -direction, its momentum changes from m v x to + m v x . Thus, its change in momentum is Δ m v = + m v x ( m v x ) = 2 m v x . According to the impulse-momentum theorem given in the chapter on linear momentum and collisions, the force exerted on the i th molecule, where i labels the molecules from 1 to N , is given by

Questions & Answers

Wat is coplanar in physics
Humble Reply
two point charges +30c and +10c are separated by a distance of 80cm,compute the electric intensity and force on a +5×10^-6c charge place midway between the charges
Tijani Reply
what is the difference between temperature and heat
Ishom Reply
Heat is the condition or quality of being hot While Temperature is ameasure of cold or heat, often measurable with a thermometer
Temperature is the one of heat indicators of materials that can be measured with thermometers, and Heat is the quantity of calor content in material that can be measured with calorimetry.
2. A brass rod of length 50cm and diameter 3mm is joined to a steel rod of the same length and diameter. What is the change in length of the combined rod at 250°c( degree Celsius) if the original length are 40°c(degree Celsius) is there at thermal stress developed at the junction? The end of the rod are free to expand (coefficient of linear expansion of brass = 2.0×10^-5, steel=1.2×10^-5k^1)
A charge insulator can be discharged by passing it just above a flame. Explain.
Mudassar Reply
of the three vectors in the equation F=qv×b which pairs are always at right angles?
what is an ideal gas?
Justine Reply
What is meant by zero Kelvin ?
Why does water cool when put in the pot ?
when we pour the water in a vessel(pot) the hot body(water) loses its heat to the surrounding in order to maintain thermal equilibrium.Thus,water cools.
when we drop water in the pot, the pot body loses heat to surrounded in order to maintain thermal equilibrium thus,water cool.
types of thermometer?
yemisi Reply
thermometer, Radiation thermometer and vapour pressure thermometer.liquid thermometer use thermometric liquid like mercury ,alcohol etc.
liqid thermometer ,gas thermometer, resitance thermometer,thermo electric thermometer , radiation thermometer andvapour pressure thermometer
calculate the quantity of heat required to rise the temperature of 1gmail of ice _10 to 110
Dargu Reply
A 40cm tall glass is filled with water to a depth of 30cm. A.what is the gauge pressure at the bottom of the glass? B.what is the absolute pressure at the bottom of the glass?
Abdulaziz Reply
A glass bottle full of mercury has mass 50g when heated through 35degree, 2.43g of mercury was expelled. Calculate the mass of the mercury remaining in the bottle
Anjorin Reply
Two electric point charges Q=2micro coulomb are fixed in space a distance 2.0cm apart. calculate the electric potential at the point p located a distance d/2 above the central point between two charges
Abdul Reply
what is wave
Ahmed Reply
A wave is a periodic disturbance which travel with a finite velocity and remains unchanged in type as it travels.
What's a wave motion?
What is charge bodies
Oje Reply
which have free elections
Show that if a vector is gradient of a scaler function then its line around a closed path is zero
Charge bodies are those which have free electons
the melting point of gold is 1064degree cencius and is boiling point is 2660 degree cenciu
Ilyas Reply
Practice Key Terms 8

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 2. OpenStax CNX. Oct 06, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12074/1.3
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