|MadSci Network: Physics|
Dear Jelly, (Cool name!) Great question! This concept is very important in chemistry and physics, and you will see it appear in almost every science class you will take. The temperature of an object is basically a measure of the movement of the individual molecules. When you heat something up, you're adding energy to the molecules, making them bounce around faster and faster. If you imagine a room full of dancers, gently swaying to something slow and mellow, they won't bump up against the walls very often, and if they do, they won't hit very hard. But if you make the music faster and more energetic, they'll start dancing faster, bouncing off each other more, and running into the walls more often and harder. The dancers are the gas molecules, and the energy of the music is the temperature of the gas. Heating up a gas will make it push against the sides of its container harder. This will do one of two things. It will either make the container expand and get larger (like a balloon) or it will increase the pressure inside the container (like a kettle). These are known respectively as Charles's Law and Gay-Lussac's Law. Cooling does the exact opposite of heating. It makes the gas molecules move slower, so they don't hit the sides as often or as hard. The pressure will go down and/or the volume will go down. The pressure/volume/temperature/amount of gas relationship can be summed up in a single rule, known as the Ideal Gas Law. This law combines Charles' Law, Gay-Lussac's Law, and Boyle's Law (Pressure vs. Volume). You can look this law up on your own, but I like to call it the "piv-nert" law. I hope this helps! Keep asking good questions! Jeff Yap Mad Scientist References: Cal State Sacramento Chemistry Department
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