Chemistry: The Kinetic Molecular Theory of Gases

The Kinetic Molecular Theory of Gases

Gases are sometimes more difficult to visualize than other forms of matter. If you're anything like me, you learned at an early age that solids are hard when you bashed your face on the coffee table, spraying blood all over your grandparents' house while the fourteen-year-old babysitter cried. You learned that liquids are wet when you were two and your parents let you sleep through the night in your big boy pants instead of diapers, and you responded by wetting the bed. Both of these phases of matter are easy to relate to because you can interact with them in easily understood ways.

On the other hand, you may not have learned about gases until you went to school and realized that the stuff you breathe has substance, even though you can't see it, smell it, taste it, or bash your head on it. In this section, we're going to investigate both the basic properties of gases (with which you're probably already somewhat familiar) as well as learn why gases have these properties.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chemistry © 2003 by Ian Guch. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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