Although liquids and gases both share the common characteristics of fluids, they have many distinctive characteristics of their own. A liquid is difficult to compress and, for many purposes, may be regarded as incompressible. A given mass of liquid occupies a fixed volume, irrespective of the size or shape of its container, and a free surface is formed if the volume of the container is greater than that of the liquid.
A gas is comparatively easy to compress. Changes of volume with pressure are large, cannot normally be neglected and are related to changes of temperature. A given mass of gas has no fixed volume and will expand continuously unless restrained by a containing vessel. It will completely fill any vessel in which it is placed and, therefore, does not form a free surface.
Last Modified on: 14-Sep-2014
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