Boyle's Law & Ideal Gases

One of the major hazards of working in space and underwater is caused by a simple physical phenomena that was first clearly explained by the famous British scientist Robert Boyle in 1662.

In this activity YES I Can! Science's own lead scientist, Dr. Thomas Stiff, takes you underwater for a clear demonstration of Boyle's Law.

A series of photographic images is taken to document changes in the air volume within a transparent test chamber as the underwater depth is increased. An analysis of these images allows students to calculate the value of the universal gas constant (R) in SI units for the equation of state given as PV = nRT

Diving in the warm waters of the Carribean off the coast of Cuba, Dr. Stiff's team performed this underwater experiment to verify Boyle's Law. The diving team deployed a vertical tether to which depth markers were attached at 2 metre intervals, and then they photographed the volume of the air in a test chamber at each depth marker location.

Each photograph is presented here so students are able to create a pressure-volume data-set which they can then use to determine the numerical value of the Universal Ideal Gas Constant in SI units.

Detailed instructions and worksheets are provided.


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YES I Can's Real-time Science Events are proudly sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company.