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Name of a property of gas?

  1. Jul 3, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    More of a simple nomenclature question than a physics question:

    Is there a specific name for the property of gas that says gas will expand to fill the volume and shape of its container? Or is it just called one of the basic properties of gas?

    2. Relevant equations

    N/A

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I've tried Googling several permutations of "name property gas expand volume shape container," but no dice.

    (It's not really a homework question -- I'm a liberal arts major, the last science course I took was geology 1000 :wink: -- but I was just curious, and I figured this sort of question might pop up in middle- or high-school level science classes. I apologize in advance if I should have posted this in another subforum.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2008 #2

    Mapes

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    Hi vannenberg, welcome to PF. This behavior is a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that the entropy of a closed system tends to a maximum. In this case, the entropy (that is, the number of possible microstates) of the gas is generally highest when it fills a container with uniform pressure and temperature.

    So you are right, it is a typical behavior of gas, but it is only one part of a much more general principle.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2008 #3
    Thanks very much for the answer and for the welcome, Mapes! I really appreciate it. :-)
     
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