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Inelastic collision and ideal gas law

  1. Dec 23, 2007 #1
    I am not even sure if my question itself is correct.
    According to ideal gas law, all the collisions for a gas molecules are elastic in nature.
    Now, suppose a hydrogen atom collides with a neutron (assuming 1-D motion for simplicity), will i consider that collision to be elastic always, or are there any possibilities of collision being inelastic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2007 #2


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    The ideal gas law does indeed assume elastic collisions between the particles that make up the gas. It also assumes that the gas is effectively homogeneous; by which I mean that all the particles that make up the gas are indistinguishable from each other. So talking about a hydrogen atom and a neutron is already something iffy.

    But in any event: let's say there are 2 of the SAME particle colliding in an ideal gas. Then yes, that collision is elastic.

    If it's not, then the ideal gas approximation is a bad approximation. And there are corrections to it, such as the van der Waals gas, for example.
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