Ideal Gas Law Temperature Calculation

Ideal Gas Law Temperature Calculation

Exp 15 molecular weight determination of vapor

Ideal Gas Law:

Molecular Weight of a Vapor


In this experiment you will use the ideal gas law to calculate the molecular weight of a volatile liquid compound by measuring the mass, volume, temperature, and pressure of the compound in its gaseous state.

Equipment and Chemicals: 600 mL beaker 150 mL Erlenmeyer flask Graduated Cylinders (10 and 100 mL) Thermometer

Electric Hot Plate

Ring Stand

Clamp or Iron Ring Digital Balance Aluminum Foil

Rubber Bands

Unknown are several methods by which the molecular weight of a compound can be determined in the laboratory.

In this experiment you will use a method that can be applied to volatile liquids.

Volatile liquids are those liquids that have a moderate to high vapor pressure at or near room temperature.

Most of these types of compounds will behave like an ideal gas when converted to the vapor state.

This means that the ideal gas law will apply:



n R T

In this equation, P is the pressure of the gas, V is the volume of the gas, n is the amount of the gas in moles, and T is the Kelvin temperature of the gas.

R is called the ideal gas constant.

The value of R will differ depending on the units used for pressure and volume.

When P is in atmospheres and V is in liters, the value of R is 0.08206 (L atm) / (mol K).

This equation is useful because it allows one to calculate the pressure, volume, temperature or number of moles of a gas simply by knowing the other three variables and doing a little algebra.

In the following experiment you will use a setup with which you can easily determine the values for pressure, volume and temperature of a gas.

Once these values have been found, you can determine the amount of the gas in moles, and from the mass of the gas in grams, you can calculate the molar mass (molecular weight) of the gas as follows:
moles of weight


grams of gas

moles of gas

Gases, unlike solids and liquids, have neither fixed volume nor shape.

They expand to fill the entire container in which they are held.

The pressure of a gas is defined as force per area.

The standard or SI unit for pressure is the Pascal (Pa) which is the the force exerted by the gas in Newtons divided by area in square meters, N/m2.

However, atmospheres (atm) and several other units are also commonly used.

The table below shows the conversions between these units:

Common Units of Pressure 1 Pascal (Pa)


1 Newton per square meter


1 N / m2

1 atmosphere (atm)


1.01325 X 105 Pa


101.325 kPa 1 bar


105 Pa 1 atm


760 torr


760 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) 1 atm


ideal gas law temperature calculation
.92 inHg (inches of mercury) 1 atm


14.70 psi (pounds per square inch)

The ideal gas law assumes several factors about the molecules of gas.

The volumes of the gas molecules themselves are considered negligible compared to the volume of the container in which they are held.

We also assume that gas molecules move randomly, and collide in completely elastic collisions.

Attractive and repulsive forces between the molecules are therefore considered negligible.

We can also use the ideal gas law to quantitatively determine how changing the pressure, temperature, volume, and number of moles of substance affects the system.Because the gas constant, R, is the same for all ideal gases in any situation, if you solve for R in the ideal gas law and then set two terms equal to one another, you obtain a convenient equation called the combined gas law:


Where the values with a subscript of "1" refer to initial conditions and values with a subscript of "2" refer to final conditions.



Calculate the volume of exactly 1 mole of an ideal gas at STP (Standard Temperature and Pressure, 0C and 1 atm).

For this calculation, we can use the ideal gas law to calculate the volume of the gas: P


1 atm n


1 mol C


273.15 K R


0.08206 (L atm) / (mol K)



nRT, mol)(0.08206 L atm / mol K)(273.15 K)

22.41 L

1 atm

A sample of cold, helium gas occupies 500 mL at 185 C and 750 torr.

At what Celsius temperature will this gas have a volume of 350 mL at a pressure of 450 torr?

For this calculation, we can use the combined gas law.

Note that the amount of gas is not stated to change; therefore, n1 = n2 and their values will cancel in the combined gas law.

We therefore have, P1 =

750 mL



185 K P2


450 , (750 torr)(500 mL)


(450 torr)(350 mL)

88.15 K

(750 torr)(500 mL)(T2)


(450 torr)(350 mL)(88.15 K)



(450 torr)(350 mL)(88.15 K)


37.023 K,
37.023 C
(750 torr)(500 mL)

Notice how all the units cancel except the desired temperature unit of Kelvin.

Thus, the pressure and volume units do not have to be specifically in atmospheres and liters.

However, temperatures must always be converted to Kelvin units for gas calculations.


To calculate the molecular weight of a volatile liquid, the liquid was vaporized in an Erlenmeyer flask which had a total volume of 152 mL.

In the procedure, the flask containing an excess amount of the volatile liquid was covered with aluminum foil with a tiny pinhole, and then the flask and the liquid was placed in a boiling water bath at 100 C.

The atmospheric pressure was measured 754 torr with a barometer in the room.

As the li
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