April 10, 2014

What is Boyle's Law?

Boyle studied the compressibility of gases in 1660. In his experiments he observed "At a fixed temperature, the volume of a gas is inversely proportional to the pressure exerted by the gas." The experiment is simple: (see figure on right)

A cylinder with a piston and a gas is immersed in a bath (e.g. water). The purpose of the bath is to have a ready heat source to maintain the temperature of the gas constant throughout the experiment. A mass is placed on top of the piston which results in a pressure on the gas. The gas volume is measured and 1/V vs P data point plotted. The mass is increased and the new 1/V vs P data point plotted. This is continued over several larger masses. to see what happens place the mouse cursor over the image.

The straight line impliesor

Which is Boyle's law.


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