Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 10 years ago

Determine dimensions and si units of constants?

I am am trying to work out the dimensions and si units of the constants a and b in the following equation.

(P + a/V^2) (V - b) = RT





R=Gas Constant


1 Answer

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Multiplying out the LHS using FOIL yields

    PV - Pb + a/V^3 - ab/V^2

    For this addition of quantities to be meaningful, we must have that all four carry the same dimensions.

    This suggests that b carries the same dimensions as volume, m^3 in SI units.

    Also a/V^2 must have the same dimensions as P,

    So, [a/V^2] = [P], or [a]/[V^2] = [P], so [a] = [P][V^2].

    Note that pressure is force divided by area, or mass times acceleration divided by Area.

    So [P] = [M][L][T]^2/[L]^2 = [M][T]^2/[L], which in SI units is the kg s^2/m

    And [V]^2 = ([L]3)^2 = [L]^6 which in SI units is m^6

    So [a] = [P][V]^2

    = [M][T]^2[L]^6/[L]

    = [M][L]^5[T]^2

    which in SI units is kg m^5 s^2.

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