Problem: The planet Jupiter has a surface temperature of 140 K and a mass 318 times that of Earth. Mercury has a surface temperature between 600 K and 700 K and a mass 0.05 times that of Earth.On which planet is the atmosphere more likely to obey the ideal-gas law?

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We have to determine if the atmosphere of Jupiter or Mercury is likely to obey the ideal gas law.


The kinetic molecular theory explains that the gas molecules are at very large distances from each other and have no interactions (attractive or repulsive) among them.


On the other hand, the molecules of real gases have interactions among them. These interactions do not matter much when the molecules are far away from one another.


When we apply pressure on a gas, we squeeze the molecules close together. This results into reduction of intermolecular spaces among molecules.

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The planet Jupiter has a surface temperature of 140 K and a mass 318 times that of Earth. Mercury has a surface temperature between 600 K and 700 K and a mass 0.05 times that of Earth.

On which planet is the atmosphere more likely to obey the ideal-gas law?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Kinetic Molecular Theory concept. You can view video lessons to learn Kinetic Molecular Theory. Or if you need more Kinetic Molecular Theory practice, you can also practice Kinetic Molecular Theory practice problems.