Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid, and plasma). A pure gas may be made up of individual atoms (e.g. a noble gas or atomic gas like neon), elemental molecules made from one type of atom (e.g. oxygen), or compound molecules made from a variety of atoms (e.g. carbon dioxide). A gas mixture would contain a variety of pure gases much like the air. What distinguishes a gas from liquids and solids is the vast separation of the individual gas particles. This separation usually makes a colorless gas invisible to the human observer. The interaction of gas particles in the presence of electric and gravitational fields are considered negligible as indicated by the constant velocity vectors in the image. One type of commonly known gas is steam. The gaseous state of matter is found between the liquid and plasma states, the latter of which provides the upper temperature boundary for gases. [image:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/21/Gas_particle_movement.svg/220px-Gas_particle_movement.svg.png] ==Gas Pressure== When describing a container of gas, the term pressure (or absolute pressure) refers to the average force per unit area that the gas exerts on the surface of the container. Within this volume, it is sometimes easier to visualize the gas particles moving in straight lines until they collide with the container (see diagram at top of the article). The force imparted by a gas particle into the container during this collision is the change in momentum of the particle. During a collision only the normal component of velocity changes. A particle traveling parallel to the wall does not change its momentum. Therefore the average force on a surface must be the average change in linear momentum from all of these gas particle collisions. [image:http://www.daviddarling.info/images/gas_molecules.gif] Pressure is the sum of all the normal components of force exerted by the particles impacting the walls of the container divided by the surface area of the wall.
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