Atkins, Peter W. Retired, Department of Chemistry, Lincoln College/Oxford University, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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The total pressure of a mixture of gases is the sum of the partial pressures of each gas in the mixture. The law was established by John Dalton (1766–1844). In his original formulation, the partial pressure of a gas is the pressure of the gas if it alone occupied the container at the same temperature. Dalton's law may be expressed as P = PA + PB + ···, where PJ is the partial pressure of the gas J, and P is the total pressure of the mixture; this formulation is strictly valid only for mixtures of ideal gases. For real gases, the total pressure is not the sum of the partial pressures (except in the limit of zero pressure) because of interactions between the molecules.
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