This item is concerned with applying ideal gas equations to physical systems and knowing when they can be applied and when they start to fail.

(Male, S. (2012) Engineering Thresholds: An Approach to Curriculum Renewal: Guide for Engineering Educators on Curriculum Renewal using Threshold Concepts 2012. An outcome report of the ALTC project “Engineering thresholds: an approach to curriculum development”:
Accessesd Nov 2014)

Researchers observe reluctance of students at all levels to consider more than one cause for an effect. This shows up as extreme difficulty in working with three-variable relationships such as the ideal gas law.
(Christopher Horton Student Alternative Conceptions in Chemistry (Originally: Student Misconceptions and Preconceptions in Chemistry, California Journal of Science Education, Volume VII, Issue 2 – Spring, 2007. available at It is also posted at the website


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    Subject: Chemistry