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Boyle’s Law in a Bottle: Pressure versus Volume—ChemTopic™ Lab Activity

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Inspired by Evangelista Torricelli’s famous 1642 air pressure experiment demonstrating that the weight of air would support a column of mercury in an inverted tube, Robert Boyle measured the pressure of air when it was compressed and expanded. The results of the experiments were published in 1662 and became the first gas law—a mathematical equation describing the relationship between the volume and pressure of air. With the Boyle’s Law in a Bottle: Pressure versus Volume—ChemTopic™ Lab Activity, carry out a modern version of Boyle’s classic experiment using air trapped inside a sealed syringe within a “pressure bottle” that has a pressure several times greater than the surrounding air. As excess pressure in the bottle is released, the volume of the trapped air inside the syringe changes and volume measurements are made and analyzed.

Concepts

  • Gas Properties
  • Boyle’s Law
  • Pressure
  • Kinetic-Molecular Theory