Chemical potential in ideal gas (does it have meaning ?)

  • Thread starter Curl
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  • #1
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While useful and unique for reactions or phase transforms, I fail to see how chemical potential brings anything new to ideal gas systems.

For example, if chemical potential is described as the quantity the same for 2 systems in diffusive equilibrium, then for ideal gas systems (think 2 boxes with ideal gas species inside each) I can describe the same thing using pressure. I.e. the partial pressure of each species is the same when two systems are in equilibrium.

Or if you say that chemical potential is the energy per particle, then for ideal gas you can relate the energy directly with temperature using the equipartition theorem. So what does the chemical potential tell us?

I'm asking this because I have another question I'll ask as soon as I get this cleared up.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
DrDu
Science Advisor
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Yes, for ideal gasses, you might use the partial pressure instead of the chemical potential. However, if there a more than one component, the total pressure may be the same for two systems whose components have different partial pressures or chemical potentials.
 

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