# Gaseous state of matter: Characteristics of gases

### Gaseous state of matter:

Have you wondered why a gas will suddenly fill a room as soon as it is released from its container?

To answer the above question, the gas particles were already moving randomly while inside the container. In fact, the particles were always waiting to escape as soon a tiny opening is made on whatever had been containing it.

From the above instance, we can categorically state that gases are made up of atoms or particles that are widely separated from one another.

You can imagine a particle to be the smallest part a anything. For instance, if you can pick up the smallest part of a finely grinded sugar, then such could be considered as a particle or an atom of the sugar.

An atom is defined as the smallest part (or particle) of a substance that can take part in a chemical reaction.

In reality, it is practically impossible to pick up a particle or an atom of a substance since they can be microscopic. As an instance, an atom of table salt cannot be handpicked.

Having an understanding of matter, atoms and particles will aid you to better understand the states of matter.

Gases have their particles widely separated apart. For this reason, they are constantly moving in a random motion. As a result, gases do not have definite shape at room temperature. Rather, they will always fill their container while also bouncing off the container's wall. In short, gaseous particles are always in a state of random motion.

The image below shows the random motion exhibited by gaseous particles:

From the above image, if you guessed that the atoms or particles of a gas are widely spread apart, then you are absolutely correct.

The cohesive forces binding gaseous particles are non existent, thus they always keep moving. As a result of their constant motion, gases will always fill the entire container in which they are present.

Gases can be easily compressed. This implies that gaseous particles (or atoms) can be brought close to one another by the application of pressure.

Consider the instance below:

• When you continuously fill a gas into a ballon, you will observe at a point that the pressure of the gas inside the ballon becomes greater than what the ballon can hold. When the elastic limit of the ballon is reached, it bursts open; and the gases eventually escapes into the atmosphere.

• Similarly, when we fill a gas into a container, and allow such container to cool beyond a certain temperature (inside a freezer), the particles of the gas inside the container will become compressed to liquid and eventually to solids. Interestingly, do you know we can have liquid oxygen and solid carbon(IV)oxide?

### Characteristics of gases

1. They have no definite shape and volume.
2. Their particles are widely spread apart, hence they are very compressible.
3. Their particle possesses a high energy for movement and rotational motion, hence they escape into the atmosphere when released.
4. They diffuse (move from the region of higher concentration to that of lower concentration) and effuse (move through tiny holes) rapidly.
5. They have low densities.
6. When we increase the tightness of their container, the pressure of gas increases.

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