In this explainer, we will learn how to calculate the relationship between the number of moles in an ideal gas and the values of its bulk properties.

The bulk properties of an ideal gas are

- the volume occupied by the gas, ,
- the temperature that the gas is at, ,
- the pressure exerted by the gas, .

It is important to understand that, in this sense, “a gas” does not refer to a substance (such as oxygen) but to a specific collection of particles of some substance (such as the oxygen molecules within a specific container).

The bulk properties of an ideal gas are related by the expression

This can be written as where is a constant. The value of depends on the number of particles in the gas.

Let us consider a container of a constant volume containing a gas at a constant temperature. All the particles of the gas are identical.

As the temperature of the gas is constant, the average force on the container due to a gas particle colliding with a surface of the container is constant for any number of gas particles.

The constant temperature of the gas also means that the average speed at which gas particles travel between opposite surfaces of the container is constant for any number of gas particles.

As the volume of the container is also constant, the average time between the collisions of a gas particle and a surface of the container must be constant for any number of particles.

We can then see that if the number of particles is greater, the number of the collisions between the particles and a surface of the container in a given time is also greater, and therefore the pressure exerted by the gas on a surface of the container is greater if the number of particles in the gas is greater.

Instead of directly determining the number of particles in some object, it is often convenient to determine the number of moles of some substance that the object consists of. The number of moles of a gas is often used in place of the number of particles that the gas consists of.

The bulk properties of a given number of moles of an ideal gas can be related to each other by the molar form of the ideal gas law.

### Formula: The Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

The molar form of the ideal gas law relates the pressure, , volume, , and temperature, , of an ideal gas to the number of moles of the gas, , by the equation where is the molar gas constant, which has an approximate value of 8.31 J/K⋅mol.

The unit J/K⋅mol is
written as m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol in SI base units.

Let us look at an example of using the molar form of the ideal gas law.

### Example 1: Determining the Pressure of an Ideal Gas Using the Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

A container of volume 0.225 m^{3}
holds 2.24 moles of oxygen gas at a temperature of
320 K. Find the pressure on the
container’s interior surfaces. Use a value of
8.31 m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol
for the value of the molar gas constant. Give your answer in
kilopascals to one decimal place.

### Answer

The molar form of the ideal gas law can be expressed by the equation where is pressure, is volume, is temperature, is the number of moles, and is the molar gas constant.

The question asks us to find the pressure of the gas, so we must make the subject of the equation. We can do this by dividing both sides of the equation by , as follows:

Recalling that m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol can be expressed as
J/K⋅mol, we can
now substitute the known values of the quantities to obtain

To one decimal place,

The question asks for the pressure in units of kPa, however. To convert the answer to the correct value, we must then convert the value in Pa to a value in kPa, as follows:

To one decimal place,

It is useful to note that the value of the mass of a particle of a gas is not required in order to determine the bulk properties of the gas using the molar form of the ideal gas law.

Let us now look at another example involving the molar form of the ideal gas law.

### Example 2: Determining the Volume of an Ideal Gas Using the Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

A cloud of gas has a pressure of
220 kPa and a temperature
of 440 K. The gas contains
8.2 moles of a particle
with a molar mass of 10.5 g/mol. Find the volume of the cloud. Use
8.31 m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol
for the value of the molar gas constant. Give your answer to two decimal places.

### Answer

The molar form of the ideal gas law can be expressed by the equation where is pressure, is volume, is temperature, is the number of moles, and is the molar gas constant.

The question asks us to find the volume of the gas, so we must make the subject of the equation. We can do this by dividing both sides of the equation by , as follows:

We can now substitute the known values of the quantities.

To determine a volume in SI base units,
m^{3}, we must use SI
base units for all the quantities in the equation. We must then convert
220 kPa to a value
in Pa:

Substituting this and the other values into the molar form of the ideal gas
law, and recalling that
m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol
can be expressed as J/K⋅mol, we obtain

To two decimal places,

Note that the molar mass of the particles of the gas was not required to determine .

Let us now look at another such example.

### Example 3: Determining the Temperature of an Ideal Gas Using the Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

A gas consisting of
25.6 moles of carbon
fills a volume of 0.128 m^{3}
and has a pressure of 135 kPa. Find the temperature of the gas. Use a value of
12.0107 g/mol
for the molar mass of carbon and
8.31 m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol for
the value of the molar gas constant. Give your answer to the nearest
kelvin.

### Answer

The molar form of the ideal gas law can be expressed by the equation where is pressure, is volume, is temperature, is the number of moles, and is the molar gas constant.

The question asks us to find the temperature of the gas, so we must make the subject of the equation. We can do this by dividing both sides of the equation by , as follows:

We can now substitute the known values of the quantities.

To determine a temperature in SI base units, K, we must use SI base units for all the quantities in the equation. We must then convert 135 kPa to a value in Pa:

Substituting this and the other values into the molar form of the ideal gas
law, and recalling that
m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol can be expressed as
J/K⋅mol, we obtain

To the nearest kelvin,

Note that the molar mass of carbon was not required to determine .

Let us now look at another such example.

### Example 4: Determining the Number of Moles of an Ideal Gas Using the Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

A gas cylinder with a volume of
0.245 m^{3} contains a gas at a
temperature of 350 K and a pressure of
120 kPa. Find the number of
moles of the gas
particles in the cylinder. Use
8.31 m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol
for the value of the molar gas constant. Give your answer to one decimal place.

### Answer

The question asks us to find the number of moles of the gas, so we must make the subject of the equation. We can do this by dividing both sides of the equation by , as follows:

We can now substitute the known values of the quantities.

To determine a number of moles in SI base units, mol, we must use SI base units for all the quantities in the equation. We must then convert 220 kPa to a value in Pa:

Substituting this and the other values into the molar form of the ideal gas
law, and recalling that
m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol can be expressed as
J/K⋅mol, we obtain

To one decimal place,

Let us now look at an example in which the number of moles of a gas is not constant.

### Example 5: Determining the Percent Change in the Number of Moles of an Ideal Gas Using the Molar Form of the Ideal Gas Law

A gas cylinder with a movable lid has an initial volume of
0.125 m^{3} and contains a gas at a
temperature of 360 K and a
pressure of Pa. The lid of the container is not perfectly sealed; hence, gas can escape from the
container when the lid is moved. The lid of the container is pushed downward,
reducing the volume of the gas to
0.105 m^{3}. The pressure of the
gas after the lid is pushed down is
Pa and the
temperature of the gas is 355 K. Find the percent of the moles of gas that
escape the cylinder due to the lid being moved. Use 8.31 m^{2}⋅kg/s^{2}⋅K⋅mol
for the value of the molar gas constant. Give your answer to the nearest percent.

### Answer

In this question, the values of all the variables in the equation other than change, meaning that we have two equations, which we can write as and

These two equations represent the gas in the cylinder before it is compressed and after a part of it exits the cylinder.

From there, we can separate the molar gas constant in each of the equations to have and

We can then see that

We can compare the number of moles of the gas before and after the change by finding the ratio of the number of moles of gas in the cylinder after the change, , to the number of moles of gas in the cylinder before the change, , as follows:

We then multiply both sides of the equation by : and simplify the equation by canceling on the right-hand side:

Placing the ratio of to in brackets, we get

Multiplying both sides of the equation by , we have

Simplifying the equation by canceling on the left-hand side,

Dividing both sides of the equation by ,

Simplifying the equation by canceling on the right-hand side,

The known values can now be substituted into the rearranged equation, as follows:

To express this ratio as a percent, it must be multiplied by , giving . Initially, the gas in the cylinder was, by definition, of the gas, so the percent loss of gas is given by

To the nearest percent, this is , which is the percent of the moles of the gas that escapes the cylinder when the lid is moved.

Let us now summarize what has been learned in this explainer.

### Key Points

- The molar form of the ideal gas law is expressed by the equation where is pressure, is volume, is temperature, is the number of moles, and is the molar gas constant.
- The molar gas constant has an approximate value of 8.31 J/K⋅mol.
- It is not necessary to know the mass of a particle of a gas to determine the bulk properties of an ideal gas when using the molar form of the ideal gas law.