Ideal gas

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An ideal gas is a theoretical gas composed of a set of randomly-moving, non-interacting point particles. The ideal gas concept is useful because it obeys the ideal gas law, a simplified equation of state, and is amenable to analysis under statistical mechanics.

At normal conditions such as standard temperature and pressure, most real gases behave qualitatively like an ideal gas. Many gases such as air, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, noble gases, and some heavier gases like carbon dioxide can be treated like ideal gases within reasonable tolerances.[1] Generally, deviation from an ideal gas tends to decrease with higher temperature and lower density (i.e. lower pressure),[1] as the work performed by intermolecular forces becomes less significant compared with the particles' kinetic energy, and the size of the molecules becomes less significant compared to the empty space between them.

The ideal gas model tends to fail at lower temperatures or higher pressures, when intermolecular forces and molecular size become important. It also fails for most heavy gases, such as water vapor or many refrigerants.[1] At some point of low temperature and high pressure, real gases undergo a phase transition, such as to a liquid or a solid. The model of an ideal gas, however, does not describe or allow phase transitions. These must be modeled by more complex equations of state.

The ideal gas model has been explored in both the Newtonian dynamics (as in "kinetic theory") and in quantum mechanics (as a "gas in a box"). The Ideal Gas model has also been used to model the behavior of electrons in a metal (in the Drude model and the free electron model), and it is one of the most important models in statistical mechanics.

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