carter tomlenovich

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Diffusion and Effusion


  • Gas molecules velocities are very high.

  • However, they don’t go very far before they collide with another gas molecule.

  • As a result, the net displacement of a gas molecule in any given direction over time is very small!

  • Gas molecules in the atmosphere move at a rate commensurate with the rate at which aromas “move”, via Diffusion!


  • Why do Hellium balloons go flat after a few days?

  • The Hellium “effuses” through tiny pores in the ballons membrane.

  • Effusion is the movement of molecules through small pores from relatively high to relatively low pressure.

  • Effusion rates repend on molar mass, by Graham’s Law of Effusion: $\frac{rate_A}{rate_B} = \frac{r_A}{r_B} = \frac{\sqrt{M_b}}{\sqrt{M_a}}$