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Atoms of a gas

  1. Jul 1, 2013 #1


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    All the elementary books I had ever read says that gases contains molecules moving randomly in all directions.Atoms/Molecules are much far apart than in solids.Then what fills the space between the atoms/Molecules?Is it a vacuum?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2013 #2
    Yes, basically and "classically" its a vacuum. But how you define "vacuum" and "empty space" can get very confused when you consider them carefully. We have intuitive notions about vacuum and empty space that can be confused with what physics has to say about them.

    For example, what about light? Would you consider light to break a vacuum? In the lab we never did. :tongue: Also in quantum you have wave-functions and virtual particles which also can confuse our ideas of vacuum and empty space.

    But if we stick to classical and colloquial physics, then I would say yes there is a vacuum of empty space in between the atoms.
  4. Jul 1, 2013 #3
    If you check the basic, dictionary definition of 'vacuum' you will find that it is a space 'devoid of matter'
    So a space containing gas atoms is not a vacuum. Light !!!!! a distraction in this context.
    Virtual particles.....part of modern physics.... modifies our way of describing things but does not change dictionary definitions.
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