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At constant temperature, it is found that the product of the pressure and volume of an ideal gas are constant

$PV=\mathrm{constant}$

This is named Boyle's Law, after Robert Boyle who formulated it in 1662.

Joesph Louis Gay-Lussac published Charles' Law in 1802, attributing it to unpublished work of Jacques Charles in the 1780's (Gay-Lussac has his own law..though it's not clear he should!).

Charles' Law states that at constant pressure the volume of a gas is proportional to the temperature.

$V\propto T$

Gay Lussac's Law states that for a fixed volume the pressure is proportional to the temperature

$P\propto T$

The combination of the previous 3 laws implies that

$PV\propto T$

Our previous laws were for systems of constant mass, but we can see that the amount of mass should effect the volume (at a given pressure) or the pressure (at a given volume).

$PV\propto mT$

Measuring the amount of mass in moles will allow us to write the ideal gas law in terms of a universal constant. A mole of gas is a given number of molecules, Avagadro's number, $N_{A}=6.02\times 10^{23}$. If we have a certain mass $m$ of a gas which has a certain molecular mass (measured in atomic mass units, $\mathrm{u}$, which are also the number of grams per mole.), the the number of moles $n$ is given by

$n=\frac{m[\mathrm{g}]}{\textrm{molecular mass}[\mathrm{g/mol}]}$

and

$PV=nRT$ where $R=8.314\mathrm{J/(mol.K)}$

This equation is the ideal gas law

The ideal gas law can also be written in terms of the number of molecules $N$

$PV=nRT=\frac{N}{N_{A}}RT=NkT$

where $k=\frac{R}{N_{A}}=\frac{8.314\mathrm{J/(mol.K)}}{6.02\times 10^{23}}=1.38\times 10^{-23}\mathrm{J/K}$ is the Boltzmann Constant.

If $PV=nRT$ the absolute zero temperature occurs when $P=0$. In practice most gases will liquefy before this point, but we can measure the pressure of fixed volume of gas at a couple of reference points and extrapolate down to zero pressure to get an estimate for absolute zero.

Through laser cooling and molecular trapping techniques it is now possible (but difficult!) for temperatures on the order of a $\mathrm{nK}$ to be achieved. Prof. Dominik Schneble produces ultra-cold ($\mu K$) Bose-Einstein condensates in the basement of this building! Prof. Hal Metcalf was one of the key players in the original development of laser cooling.

There are a number of conditions which must be satisfied for a gas to be considered ideal

- There must be a large number of molecules and they should move in random directions with a range of different speeds.
- The spacing between molecules should be much greater than the size of the molecules.
- Molecules are assumed to interact only through collisions.
- The collisions are assumed to be elastic.

We can work out the pressure exerted by an ideal gas on it's container by starting from the change in momentum of a molecule when it strikes the container wall

The average force due to one molecule is then

$F=\frac{\Delta(mv)}{\Delta t}=\frac{2mv_{x}}{2l/v_{x}}=\frac{mv_{x}^{2}}{l}$

The net force on the wall will be the sum of the forces from all $N$ molecules

$F=\frac{m}{l}\Sigma_{i=1..N} v_{xi}^{2}$

$\frac{\Sigma_{i=1..N} v_{xi}^{2}}{N}=\bar{v_{x}^{2}}$ → $F=\frac{m}{l}N\bar{v_{x}^{2}}$

$v^{2}=v_{x}^{2}+v_{y}^{2}+v_{z}^{2}$ → $\bar{v^{2}}=\bar{v_{x}^{2}}+\bar{v_{y}^{2}}+\bar{v_{z}^{2}}=\bar{3v_{x}^{2}}$

$F=\frac{m}{l}N\frac{\bar{v^{2}}}{3}$

$P=\frac{F}{A}=\frac{1}{3}\frac{Nm\bar{v^{2}}}{Al}=\frac{1}{3}\frac{Nm\bar{v^{2}}}{V}$

$PV=\frac{2}{3}N(\frac{1}{2}m\bar{v^{2}})=NkT$

$\bar{KE}=\frac{1}{2}m\bar{v^{2}}=\frac{3}{2}kT$