Thermal physics A level Watch

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Report Thread starter 3 months ago
Several textbooks I have read have said that potential energy of a substance can't be reduced to zero,even at zero kelvin. However, I have come across other statements saying that gases have zero potential energy, but in reality do gases actually have a very small amount of potential energy (enough that its negligible, so we just class them as having zero potential energy)?Surely gases (referring to non ideal gases) have a very small amount of potential energy as a gas has very very weak intermolecular forces between molecules?
I am wondering if anyone could clarify this for me?
Last edited by Saracen1; 3 months ago
Brain Damage
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Report 3 months ago
In an ideal gas, potential energy is assumed to be 0 because you have relatively few particles in a relatively large space. The particles are spaced far enough apart to assume that they never interact with each other.

In a real gas, particles will interact with each other, so they do have some potential energy. It's just not very much potential energy compared to liquids and solids because solid and liquid particles are much closer together.

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