MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: What is ideal gas law used for?

Date: Fri Jan 31 23:59:32 2003
Posted By: Leslie Allen, Staff, Laboratory Chemist, Valero Refining Company
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1043900558.Ch

Hi Lauren,
The Ideal Gas Law: PV = nRT

P = pressure (atm) (1 atm = 760 mmHg)
V = volume (Litre)
n =  moles
R = Ideal Gas Constant (0.0821 L*atm)
T = temperature (degrees Kelvin) (0C = 273K)

In my line of work, I generally deal with hydrocarbon gases. Occasionally, 
we are asked to calculate the volume composition of gas. 
The samples arrive at the lab in small cylinders we call peanut bombs. We 
take an initial weight of the bomb and pass the gas through an absorbing 
solution to determine hydrogen sulfide content. Therefore, after passing a 
quanitity of gas, the final weight of the bomb provides us the total 
number of grams of gas. Hydrogen sulfide concentration is determined by 
titrating the absorbing solution with a normality of silver nitrate 
solution. Therefore, we can calculate the number of moles of hydrogen 
sulfide and the volume of hydrogen sulfide gas. Along with the gas 
chromatographic analysis, the total composition of the sample may be 
calculated in volume, mass, or mole percent.

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