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Properties of Matter

5. The Ideal Gas Law

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In this mini-lecture, we introduce the ideal gas law. As we move through the mini-lecture, we consider: (i) the properties of gases; (ii) a demonstration using Magdeburg hemispheres; (iii) a demonstration illustrating the force of external air pressure on an evacuated object; (iv) a demonstration that shows a reduction in pressure causing an increase in volume; (v) Boyle’s Law relating pressure and volume; (vi) the relationship between temperature and kinetic energy, and a demonstration showcasing this; (vii) Charles’s Law relating volume and temperature; (viii) the units of Kelvin for temperature; (ix) the relationship between temperature and pressure and a demonstration illustrating this; and (x) the ideal gas law and what an ideal gas is.


In this course, Dr Janet Lovett (University of St Andrews) explores properties of matter. Throughout this course, we present 14 demonstrations. In the first mini-lecture, we discuss atomic structure and look specifically at what makes up the elements (protons, neutrons, and electrons), models of the atom, energy levels, and element emission spectra. In the second mini-lecture we explore the discovery of the electron, focusing on a series of demonstrations that illustrate J.J. Thomson’s cathode ray experiment and how electron charge was first determined. The third mini-lecture turns towards nuclear physics, where we discuss nuclide stability, mass and energy, binding energy per nucleon to understand nuclear fusion and fission, and radioactivity. In the fourth mini-lecture, we take a step back from atoms to consider matter as a whole, specifically discussing the phases of matter, and how pressure and temperature affect these phases. In the fifth mini-lecture, we explore the relationships between pressure, volume, temperature, and number of particles before introducing the ideal gas law. In the sixth mini-lecture, we look at the forces between particles and how they interact in a substance.


Janet Lovett is a Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews. Her primary research interest is in measuring nanometre distances for structural biology using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Dr Lovett teaches a first-year ‘Properties of Matter’ course at the University in addition to other courses such as magnetic resonance.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lovett, J. (2022, January 12). Properties of Matter - The Ideal Gas Law [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lovett, J. "Properties of Matter – The Ideal Gas Law." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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