Problem: Which of the following gases will have the largest root mean square speed at 100 °C?1. water2. argon3. oxygen4. methane 5. nitrogen

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We’re being asked to determine the gas that would have the largest root mean square speed at 100°C. 


When calculating for root mean square speed (μrms), we will use the following equation:

µrms = rms speed,
R = 8.314 J/(mol·K)
T = temperature, K
M = molar mass, kg/mol


Based on the equation for μrms, 3 and R are constants. All of the gases are at the same temperature (100°C). The only difference the gases have is their molar masses (M).

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Problem Details

Which of the following gases will have the largest root mean square speed at 100 °C?

1. water

2. argon

3. oxygen

4. methane 

5. nitrogen

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