You are on page 1of 2

Background: This lab is intended to give you further experience with Charles’s Law

– the relationship between volume and temperature of a gas. You will make careful
measurements and attempt to verify the accuracy of the relationship. We will make
one assumption: the vapor pressure of water is small enough in comparison to the
accuracy of the measurements this procedure will require, that it can be reasonably

Materials: ____________________________________________________




1. Begin by boiling 300 mL – 400 mL water in a 600 mL beaker, on a hotplate.

You may need to share a hotplate with another group. While the water warms and
begins to boil, proceed to step 2.

2. In a 1000 mL beaker, pour approximately 500 mL of tap water, and let it sit to
the side, acclimating to room temperature.

3. Insert a one-hole stopper into the opening of a 125 mL Erlenmeyer flask. Use
a wax pencil to carefully mark the level of the bottom of the stopper in the neck of
the flask. This mark will be required to make your measurements.

4. Insert the flask into the beaker of boiling water so that the beaker, and the air
inside it, warms to the temperature of the water. Use a thermometer to measure
this temperature (of the water) after 8-10 minutes. This time will allow the air in the
flask to be warmed to the temperature of the water. Record the temperature of the
water in Kelvin as the starting temperature of the sample of air.

5. Carefully, use tongs and a hot mitt to remove the flask from the beaker of
boiling water. Invert the flask and submerge it into the 1000 mL beaker of room-
temperature water. This step should be done as quickly as possible without risking
burning yourself or splashing water out of the beaker; as the flask is no longer being
heated, it will cool and allow air in and out through the hole of the stopper.

6. Hold the flask upside-down in the beaker of water for 8-10 minutes to allow
the air inside the flask to cool to the temperature of the water in the beaker.
Record the temperature of the water in the beaker in Kelvin as the final
temperature of the sample of air.

7. Pick up the flask slowly, still inverted, until the water level inside the flask is
the same as the water level outside the flask. By keeping the water levels inside
and out of the flask exactly the same the atmospheric pressure inside and outside
the flask will be the same (held constant) and we can eliminate it from our
calculations. Without moving the flask, proceed to the next step.

8. Carefully reach into the water and cover the hole in the stopper with your
finger. Remove the flask and water inside it, without letting any water out of the
flask. Pour the water from inside the flask into a graduated cylinder and measure
the volume of water. Record the volume of water sucked into the flask in mL as the
change in volume of the gas.

9. Fill the flask with water exactly to the line you marked at the bottom of the
stopper. Transfer the water to a graduated cylinder (this may take more than one
step if the volume is greater than the graduated cylinder). Record this volume in
mL as the starting volume of air.

10. Complete the analysis section.


T1 Starting temp: ___________ K T2 Finishing temp: ___________ K

V1 Starting volume: ___________ mL (V2 – V1) Change in volume:

___________ mL


You will calculate the final volume of the sample of air in the flask two ways.

First, subtract the change in volume from the starting volume:

Second, use Charles’s law to calculate the final volume:

Calculate the percent difference for the two calculated final volumes:

% difference = |difference of two values| x 100 =

larger of two values

On the graph paper provided, graph volume on the y-axis and temperature on the
x-axis. Plot your starting values as one point and the final temp with the average of
your two finishing volumes as the second point.

Connect your two points with a straight line that intersects the y axis. This line
represents the volume of your sample of gas at any temperature.

Where should the line cross the y-axis? (Hint: at the y-axis, the temperature is

Does your line cross the y-axis where it should? Why or why not?