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Ideal Gas Law

Jane Doe
Physics 16, Tuesday Section
Partner: Michelle Smith
Sept. 12, 2006
The purpose of this eperiment is to study the conditions under !hich air "eha#es as an
ideal $as. Measurements of air pressure and temperature are made at fied #olume and fied
moles. The analysis of the measurements !ill demonstrate that air o"eys the ideal $as la!. %rom
the analysis an eperimental #alue for the uni#ersal $as constant R is o"tained.
Theory: The Ideal Gas Law
&deal $ases are $ases in !hich the particles of the $as only interact throu$h elastic
collisions' there are no intermolecular forces "et!een the particles. (eal $ases can approimate
ideal $ases at conditions of lo! pressure and hi$h temperature !here the intermolecular forces
are ne$li$i"le. )nder those conditions the e*uation of state for an ideal $as holds:
PV =nRT +1,
-ere the pressure +P, and #olume +V, are directly proportional to the temperature +T,. The
constant R is the uni#ersal $as constant and n is the num"er of moles in the #olume. &f V and n
are held fied and a series of measurements of pressure and temperature are made, then .*. +1,
predicts a linear relationship "et!een the pressure and temperature. &t is therefore epected that a
plot of P #s. T !ill "e a strai$ht line !ith slope proportional to R. )sin$ a re$ression analysis of
the plot, the slope can "e found, and an eperimental #alue of R determined.
To test the ideal $as la!, !e used an air/ti$ht cylinder !ith a mo#a"le piston. Due to its o!n
mass, the piston eerts pressure on the $as in the cylinder "elo! it. 0nce the system is in
e*uili"rium, the pressure eerted "y the cylinder is e*ual to the pressure of the $as. The total
pressure is:
1ame, Date, Partner
and 2a" Section
.*uation and reference num"er
3aria"les defined in tet


-ere g is the acceleration of $ra#ity, M is the mass of the piston, A is the cross sectional area
of the piston and P
is the atmospheric pressure.
The #olume of the $as is proportional to the hei$ht 4h of the piston a"o#e the floor of the
V =Ah +5,
The num"er of moles n is determined "y the #olume of $as at standard temperature and pressure
+STP, of 265.17 8 and 1 atm. 9t STP one mole $as occupies of #olume of 22.: liters. ;e can use
this to define a unit of molar density:

1 mole
Therefore the num"er of moles is:
n=V +7,
<y su"stitutin$ .*. +2, , +5, and +7, into .*. +1,, !e find the e*uation of state in terms of
the measured *uantities M and T:


M can "e chan$ed "y placin$ additional mass on the piston. &n this eperiment, M is ad=usted to
>eep the hei$ht constant at each temperature T. 9 measurement of M #s. T at fied hei$ht is
e*ui#alent to a measurement of P #s. T at fied V. The slope +a, and intercept +b, can "e found
from a re$ression analysis of M #s. T, allo!in$ R to "e determined.
1ote: no lon$ deri#ation.
Just reference e*uations
and $i#e result. 8eep detailed
calculation in note"oo>.
Experimental Technique: The Double-Walled Cylinder
The eperiment setup consist of a dou"le/!alled cylinder sho!n in %i$ure 1. 9n air/ti$ht
piston of +7.000 ? 0.001, >$ and cross sectional area A @ +6A.7: ? 0.51, cm
holds the $as inside.
The space "et!een the inner and outer !alls is filled !ith !ater to maintain the temperature of
the $as in the cylinder. The cylinder is placed on top of an electric heatin$ coil !hich heats the
!ater. 9fter the settin$ of the coil is ad=usted, the !ater and the $as in the cylinder are allo!ed to
reach thermal e*uili"rium "efore ma>in$ further measurements. This typically ta>es a"out 17
minutes. The !ater "ath temperature is then measured usin$ a thermometer, !ith an estimated
uncertainty of ?2 8.
The apparatus !as initially setup at STP. The !ater "ath "et!een the t!o cylindrical !alls
!as filled !ith ice !ater. The #al#e on the top of the piston !as opened to allo! air to flo!
freely "et!een inside and outside the cylinder. 9 support "loc> !as placed "et!een support
stand and the top of the cylinder. This ensures that the only pressure on the $as inside the
cylinder !as the atmospheric pressure. T!o thermometers !ere used to measure temperature:
one of the ice !ater "ath and the other the temperature of the air inside the cylinder. The second
thermometer !as narro! enou$h to "e inserted in the open #al#e !ithout "loc>in$ air flo!
throu$h the #al#e.
9fter sufficient time had pass, the air in the cylinder !as at STP. The molar density of the
air is then $i#en "y .*. +:,. The thermometer in the #al#e !as remo#ed and the #al#e !as closed
off. The support "loc> !as remo#ed and the piston !as allo!ed to slo!ly descend into the
%i$ure 1: Dou"le/!alled cylinder and piston
%i$ure !ith rele#ant
parts la"eled
%i$ure num"er
and caption
cylinder. The total pressure on the air !as $i#en "y .*. +2,. 9ssumin$ the temperature of the air
remains constant, the molar density of the air !as calculated usin$:

The initial hei$ht h of the piston !as measured to "e +1A.B0.1,cm from the "ase of the
cylinder +see %i$. 1,. The heatin$ coil !as turned on and a series of measurements !as made "y
#aryin$ the temperature of the !ater "ath usin$ the heatin$ coil. 9s the !ater "ath !armed, the
air inside epanded and the piston rose. The air inside the cylinder !as allo!ed to reach thermal
e*uili"rium !ith the !ater "ath. Mass !as then added to the support stand until the piston
compressed the air to the initial hei$ht of 1A.Bcm. To determine the uncertainty in the applied
mass, masses of 1 $ram increments !ere added to the support stand to see if there !as an
o"ser#a"le chan$e in the hei$ht. %rom this test, the estimated uncertainty in the mass !as found
to "e ? 7 $rams.
Data !nalysis and "esults:
Measurements !ere made at a total of ei$ht different temperatures. Ta"le 1 is a summary of
the data ta>en.
Ta"le 1: Measurements of Temperature and Mass
Temperature +?2 8, Mass +?0.007 >$,
500 6.201
510 10.:50
520 1:.770
550 16.276
5:0 20.10B
570 25.05:
560 26.522
560 2A.16A
%i$ure 2 is a plot of mass #s. temperature. The plot demonstrates the linear relationship "et!een
the mass and the temperature as predicted "y the ideal $as la!.
Ta"le num"er
and Title
Column headin$ !ith
#aria"les, units and
1ote: ta"le has less than 10 entries.
8eep lon$er ta"les, li>e Sonic
(an$er data, in spreadsheet.
9 re$ression analysis !as performed to determine the "est fit slope and intercept.
Ta"le 2 contains the results of this analysis:
Ta"le 2: (e$ression 9nalysis (esults
Slope a +0.50: ? 0.012, >$D8
&ntercept " +/A5.6? :.0, >$
)sin$ the "est fit #alue of the slope a and .*. +6,, the uni#ersal $as constant R can "e
determined. The result for R is:
The uncertainty in R
does not include systematic effects, such as possi"le de#iations from
standard temperature and pressure !hile the apparatus !as "ein$ prepared. The atmospheric
pressure can also "e calculated, usin$ the "est fit #alue of the intercept b:
This a$rees !ell !ith the anticipated #alue of a"out 1 atm.
%i$ure 2: Mass #s. Temperature / solid line is "est
fit to data
Title E #ertical +y, #s. horiFonal +,
9es la"eled !ith
#aria"le and units
9es scale di#ided into
inter#als of 1,2,7 or 10
%i$ure num"er
and caption
1ote: =ust present results
of re$ression analysis. 8eep
summary output from .cel

in note"oo>.
(esults al!ays presented
!ith uncertainty. 8eep detailed
uncertainty analysis in note"oo>
)nder the present eperimental conditions, air "eha#es li>e an ideal $as. 9t fied #olume
and fied moles, measurements of pressure #s. temperature ehi"ited a linear relationship,
consistent !ith the e*uation of state for an ideal $as. %rom the analysis of mass #s. temperature
an eperimental #alue of R
@ +A.70 ? 0.:0, JD+mole G 8, !as o"tained. This eperimental #alue
is consistent, !ithin uncertainty, !ith the accepted #alue of R @ A.51 JD+mole G 8,.
The lar$est source of uncertainty in R
comes from the slope of the re$ression analysis.
The uncertainty in the slope is 5.BH, compared to the uncertainty in A of 0.:H. This uncertainty
arises from the spread of the data in %i$ 2, rather than from a systematic de#iation from linearity.