Problem: What is the ratio of the average kinetic energy of a SO2 molecule to that of an O2 molecule in a mixture of two gases? What is the ratio of the root mean square speeds, urms, of the two gases?

🤓 Based on our data, we think this question is relevant for Professor Littlejohn's class at SAC.

FREE Expert Solution

According to the kinetic molecular theory of gases, the average kinetic energy of a gas is directly proportional to the temperature of the gas: a higher temperature results in a higher average kinetic energy.

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Assuming that the gas samples are all at the same temperature. This means they will have the same kinetic energy.

The ratio of the average kinetic energy of a SO2 molecule to that of an O2 molecule is equal to 1.


μrms=3RTM


3RT is constant


Recall that Graham's Law of Effusion allows us to compare the rate of effusion of two gases. Graham's Law states that the rate of effusion of a gas is inversely proportional to its molar mass.


rate=1MMgas


This means that when comparing two gases:


rategas 1rategas 2=MMgas 2MMgas 1



Let's designate SO2 as gas 1 and O2 as gas 2. 

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Problem Details

What is the ratio of the average kinetic energy of a SO2 molecule to that of an O2 molecule in a mixture of two gases? What is the ratio of the root mean square speeds, urms, of the two gases?

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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 Energy of Gases concept. If you need more Kinetic Energy of Gases practice, you can also practice Kinetic Energy of Gases practice problems.

What professor is this problem relevant for?

Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Littlejohn's class at SAC.

What textbook is this problem found in?

Our data indicates that this problem or a close variation was asked in Chemistry - OpenStax 2015th Edition. You can also practice Chemistry - OpenStax 2015th Edition practice problems.