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What are the applications of standard temperature and pressure?

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Quick Answer

Standard temperature and pressure, or STP, is used to calculate the volume and pressure of gases. Standard temperature is the freezing point of water, calculated to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit, zero degrees Celsius and 273.15 degrees Kelvin. Standard pressure is 1 atmosphere of pressure at sea level, which is 29.9 inches, or 760 millimeters, of mercury. STP is a valuable tool to chemists, engineers, mechanics, pilots, doctors, navigators and physicists.

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Full Answer

STP is used to measure the pressure of gases, such as those in pressurized tanks or tire pressure on vehicles. Mechanics measure pressurized fluids and sprayers in combustion engines using STP values. Doctors who use medical gauges to measure lung capacity and blood pressure must take into account atmospheric pressure.

STP is part of an overall concept of chemistry called the ideal gas law. This principle takes into account temperature and pressure to calculate volume of gases using two constants called Avogadro's number and the universal gas constant. This concept is quantified by the equation PV = nRT, where P is pressure, V is volume, n is the number of moles of a gas using Avogadro's number, R is the universal gas constant and T is temperature.

The ideal gas law asserts when temperature increases, volume increases, and pressure remains constant. Likewise, when temperature increases and volume remains constant, pressure increases. If temperature decreases, volume or pressure lowers.

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