The Ideal Gas

Each list begins with basic conceptual vocabulary you need to know for MCAT questions and proceeds to advanced terms that might appear in context in MCAT passages. The terms are links to Wikipedia articles.
Ideal gas law
The ideal gas law is the equation of state of a hypothetical gas consisting of identical particles of zero volume, with no intermolecular forces.
Ideal gas
An ideal gas is a hypothetical gas consisting of identical particles of zero volume with no intermolecular forces undergoing perfectly elastic collisions.
Kinetic theory
Kinetic theory of gases attempts to explain macroscopic properties of gases by considering their molecular composition and motion.
Gas is one of the four major states of matter, consisting of freely moving atoms or molecules without a definite shape.
Boyle's law
Boyle's law states that the product of the pressure and volume for an enclosed ideal gas will be constant if temperature remains fixed.
Charles's law
Charles's law states that at constant pressure, the volume of a given mass of an ideal gas increases or decreases by the same factor as its kelvin temperature increases or decreases.
Partial pressure
Each gas in a mixture of ideal gases has a partial pressure which is the pressure which the gas would have if it alone occupied the volume.
Gas constant
The gas constant is a physical constant used in equations of state. It is another name for the Boltzmann constant, though expressed in units of energy per kelvin per mole rather than energy per kelvin per particle.
Graham's law
Graham's law of effusion states that the rate of effusion of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of the mass of its particles.
Effusion is the process where individual molecules flow through a small pore without collisions.
Dalton's law
Dalton's law of partial pressures states that the total pressure exerted by a gaseous mixture is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of each component in a gas mixture.
Van der Waals equation
The van der Waals equation is the general equation of state for a fluid composed of particles that have a non-zero size and a pairwise attractive inter-particle force.
Gay-Lussac's law
Gay-Lussac's law states that the ratio between the combining volumes of reagent gases and product can be expressed in small whole numbers.
Boltzmann constant
The Boltzmann constant is the physical constant relating temperature to energy.
Degrees of freedom
In statistical mechanics, a degree of freedom is a single scalar number describing the classical micro-state of a system.
Statistical mechanics
Statistical mechanics is the application of probability theory to the field of mechanics.
Equipartition theorem
The equipartition theorem, which relates the temperature of a system to its average energies, depends on the idea that at thermal equilibrium, energy is shared equally among its various forms within the system.
Root mean square speed
Root mean square speed is the measure of the speed of particles in a gas that is most convenient for problem solving within the kinetic theory of gases.
Boltzmann distribution
The Boltzmann distribution predicts the distribution function for the fractional number of particles occupying a set of states depending on the temperature and degeneracy of the system.
Ludwig Boltzmann
Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (1844 - 1906) was an Austrian physicist famous for his founding contributions in the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics.
Ensemble average
In statistical mechanics, the ensemble average is defined as the mean of a quantity that is a function of the distribution of micro-states of a system.
Departure function
A departure function for a species is the difference between a property as computed for an ideal gas and the property as it exists in the real world, for a specified temperature T and pressure P.
Bose gas
An ideal Bose gas is a quantum-mechanical version of a classical ideal gas. It is composed of bosons, which have an integral value of spin.
Virial theorem
The virial theorem provides a general equation relating the average total kinetic energy of a thermodynamic system with its average total potential energy.

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