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Kinetic Theory and Diffusion

Kinetic theory explains the physical properties of matter in terms of the

movement and structure of its particles.
• In a solid, the particles are closely and regularly packed.
• In a liquid, the particles are mostly touching, though there are gaps.
• In a gas, the particles have almost zero forces of attraction.
Solid, liquid, and gas are the 3 states of matter. It is very difficult to
walk through solids, a bit less difficult to go through water (because of
gaps between particles) or any other liquid, and very easy to walk
through gases. Solids are denser than, and therefore sink in liquids,
except water, in the case of which, ice (solid water) floats atop liquid
• Solids melt to become liquids. Liquids freeze to become solids.
• Liquids boil to become gases. Gases condense to become liquids.
• Liquids' faster moving particles on the surface escape to form gases,
in a process called evaporation.
• Solids directly turn into gases without becoming liquids, in a process
called sublimation. Gases directly become solids without going through
the liquid-stage in the reverse process of sublimation, called either
desublimation or deposition.

Diffusion is the process by which particles of a gas or a liquid spread

• Light particles diffuse faster than heavy particles. (a)
• Diffusion in liquids is slower than diffusion in gases. (b)
• Particles are extremely small. (c)
Reason for (a) : Light particles have higher molecular velocity/speed,
than do heavier particles.
Reason for (b) : Gases diffuse faster than liquids because they have
more kinetic energy and more free space between particles than
(c) can be proven through dilution experiments (described below):

Some amount of potassium permanganate has to be mixed with a cup

of water. The colour of the solution will become deep purple. 10ml of
the solution in the cup has to be mixed with a second cup of water.
10ml of the solution in the second cup has to be mixed with a third cup
of water. This has to be done till the sixth cup of water. In the sixth cup,
the solution's colour will be very faint and the purple colour of
potassium permanganate cannot be seen. This is because, as more and
more water comes into play, the number of potassium permanganate
particles reduce progressively from one cup to another. That means, for
the deep purple colour of potassium permanganate to be seen, a huge
number of particles have to be mixed with water, which proves that
both the weight and size of just one particle is infinitesimal.