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Gasoline Air Mixture Question

  1. Jul 7, 2007 #1
    Hello, I have a question about the following statement:

    "It is well known that warm air in a cooler environment rises. Now consider a warm mixture of air and gasoline on top of an open gasoline can. Do you think this gas mixture will rise in a cooler environment?"

    I would say Yes, the mixture would rise due to natural convection. The warmer, lighter mixture near the top of the can would rise and the cooler, heavier air would fill its place. Is this a correct conclusion?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2007 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    The reason warm air rises in a cooler environment is because warm air is less dense than cool air.

    However, the density of gasoline vapor is heavier than that of air. This means that even a warm gasoline-air mixture may be denser than an environment of cooler, pure air, and will not necessary rise.

    - Warren
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