Gas laws are not state regulations about the sale of gasoline, but rather refer to the way matter behaves when in its gaseous state. More specifically, they describe its relationship to volume, pressure, and temperature. Each is named for the scientist who discovered it.
- Boyle’s Law
Boyle’s Law is named for Irish chemist Robert Boyle. It states that when held at a constant temperature, a gas’s pressure is inversely related to its volume. This means that the higher the pressure, the smaller the volume, and vice-versa. Pressure is the amount of force per unit area, and can be measured by various techniques, including a burst pressure test of industrial pipes and tubes.
- Charles’s Law
French balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles discovered the relationship between the temperature and pressure of a gas. Because volume is directly proportional to temperature, balloons shrink in cold weather and burst when left in a hot car. This phenomenon occurs because the hotter temperatures cause gas molecules to have a higher kinetic energy.
- Gay-Lussac’s law
Also called Amonton’s law, this gas law was first discovered by French Chemist Joseph Gay-Lussac. It describes the direct relationship between pressure and temperature when volume remains the same. The easiest way to maintain a constant volume is to put gas into a solid container such as an aerosol can that cannot expand or shrink.
- Avogadro’s Law
Amadeus Avogadro realized that equal volumes of gasses contain the same number of particles, even if the gasses contain different elements. During his lifetime, Avogadro’s discovery was largely disregarded. Only after his death did scientists realize it truth.
The four gas laws are important to the studies of physics and chemistry. They are also extremely useful to the average person who deals with everyday gas-filled objects such as tires and balloons.