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It is said that a gas fills all the space available to it.

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition | ISBN: 9780321909107 | Authors: Paul G. Hewitt ISBN: 9780321909107 29

Solution for problem 1E Chapter 14

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition

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Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition | ISBN: 9780321909107 | Authors: Paul G. Hewitt

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition

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Problem 1E

It is said that a gas fills all the space available to it. Why, then, doesn’t the atmosphere go off into space?

Step-by-Step Solution:
Step 1 of 3

Solution 1E Gas fills all the space available because of the velocity of the gas particle. The gas particles do random motion and collide with each other and the wall of the container. The RMS speed of the gas depends on the temperature. Now, for a container, having height, much smaller than the height of the atmosphere, the difference between the potential energy at the bottom of the container and at the top of the container is very small. So at normal temperature, the gas particle has sufficient kinetic energy to easily move from the bottom to the top. But to fill the whole space, the gas particle has to come out from the earth’s gravitational field. So the gas particle requires a huge kinetic energy to overcome the gravitational field. Now for normal atmospheric temperature, except for the helium and hydrogen, other gas molecule does not have sufficient velocity or kinetic energy to overcome the gravitational pull of the earth. Hence the gas from the atmosphere does not fill the space.

Step 2 of 3

Chapter 14, Problem 1E is Solved
Step 3 of 3

Textbook: Conceptual Physics
Edition: 12
Author: Paul G. Hewitt
ISBN: 9780321909107

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It is said that a gas fills all the space available to it.