An online gas lab simulationSeptember 27th, 2011 by Charles Xie
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Before computer simulation was widely accessible, you probably would have to pull out the Van der Waals Equation and pray that doing the math would do the trick.
Now, there is a good way to teach this. Using an online molecular dynamics simulation--made using the Molecular Workbench software, investigating non-ideal gases is a piece of cake. This simulation uses a pair of gas containers side by side and allows the user to explore how six variables affect the volume of a gas: temperature, pressure, number of particles, particle mass, particle size, and particle attraction. It basically covers all the variables in the Van der Waals equation--without saying them explicitly. And there is a variable that is not included in the Van der Waals equation. The simulation reveals exactly why it is not there.