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PRE-LAB ASSIGNMENTS:

To be assigned by your lab instructor.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Using graphs to determine mathematical relationships between two variables

EXPERIMENTAL GOALS:

The purpose of this lab is to verify Boyles, Charless, and Avogadros Law and the gas law

constant, R.

INTRODUCTION:

Have you ever wondered why it gets harder to push on a partially full soda bottle as you

squeeze on it and reduce the volume inside? Similarly, why does your plastic bottle of soda get

rigid when you leave it in your car during the summer? The answer to both questions deals with

what we call gas laws. In the first case, we know that pressure is inversely proportional to

volume and as you reduce the volume of gas in the bottle, more force is required to continue

reducing the volume due to the increased pressure. In the second case, we know that gases

expand to exert more pressure when the temperature increases. We are going to discuss four gas

laws as an introduction to this lab.

Avogadros Law

An Italian scientist named Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) examined the relationship

between the amount of gas particles or molecules (now understood as the number of moles) of a

gas and its volume. This law is probably the one that makes the most sense to everybody. If you

have more of something, chances are that it will occupy more space and have a greater volume.

If temperature and pressure are kept constant, the volume that a gas occupies is directly

proportional to the number of moles of the gas. Avogadros Law may be expressed

mathematically as

Volume Number of moles

where the mathematical symbol means is proportional to. The volume and the number of

moles of gas are directly proportional to each other that is, when one variable increases, the

other one also increases.

134

Boyles Law

The British scientist Robert Boyle (1627-1691), discovered the relationship between the

volume that a gas occupies and the pressure that is exerted upon it. He used a glass, J-shaped

device that resembles an older style of barometer, that is appropriately called a J-tube. The tube

was sealed at one end and mercury was added to the open end.

mercury added

gas sample

As more mercury was added, thereby exerting more pressure on the gas, Boyle discovered that

the volume the gas occupied decreased. He realized that if you keep the temperature and number

of moles of gas constant, the volume occupied by the gas was inversely proportional to the

pressure exerted upon it. In other words, as the pressure that is exerted upon a gas increases (at

constant temperature and moles of gas) the volume that it occupies decreases and vice versa. In

honor of his discovery, we now call this relationship Boyles law. Boyles law may be expressed

mathematically as

Pressure

1

Volume

When one variable is proportional to the reciprocal of another variable, the two variables are said

to be inversely proportional to each other that is, when one variable increases, the other

decreases.

Charles Law

In the late 1700s, a French mathematician and physicist named Jacques Alexandre Csar

Charles (1746-1823) was interested in the relationship between the volume that a gas occupied

and its temperature. He was also one of the first people to use a hydrogen-filled balloon to lift

himself off of the ground. Charles noticed that as you heat a gas, the volume that it occupies

increases, if the pressure and amount of gas is held constant. Similarly, as temperature is

decreased, the volume that the gas occupies decreases. He correctly concluded that the volume

that a gas occupies is directly proportional to the temperature, provided that the pressure and

number of moles of gas are kept constant. Charles law may be expressed mathematically as

Volume Temperatur e

135

The Ideal Gas Law

The Ideal Gas Law describes the general behavior of an ideal gas. Boyles, Charles and

Avogadros Laws are specific gas laws that may be combined to form this general gas law.

Similarly, these three named laws can easily be derived from the Ideal Gas Law. The Ideal Gas

Law can be written as

PV = nRT

where P is the pressure of the gas, V is the volume of the gas, n is the number of moles of the gas

and T is the temperature. The last term, R, is the ideal gas constant, whose value depends on the

units in which it is expressed. For example, in non-SI units, the value of R is 0.08206 L atm K-1

mol-1. It is important to emphasize that P, V, and T must have the same units as the gas constant

(think dimensional analysis). The Ideal Gas Law does make assumptions about gases behaving

in an ideal manner so there are some limitations to using it. What constitutes an ideal gas has

to do with intermolecular forces, etc., but we can approximate most gases as ideal at normal

pressures and temperatures. Hence, this Law is very useful for understanding the behavior of a

gas or gases in terms of the amount of gas (n) pressure (P), volume (V) and temperature (T). In

summary, this Law can be used to derive the other gas laws, and it allows chemists and engineers

to determine one of the variables provided that the other three are known.

PROCEDURE:

Safety Information

In the Avogadros Law experiment, make sure that you carefully examine your ignition

tube for any defects, since any cracks can cause the tube to explode when heating. Get

another tube if you are concerned about the quality of your ignition tube and make your

instructor aware of the faulty tube.

In the Charles Law experiment, be careful with the hot water; use some folded paper

towels to move the beaker of hot water onto the ring stand.

Students will work in groups of four. Data will be shared between the four students. Two

students will verify Boyles and Charless laws, while the other two verify Avogadros law. Each

pair should pay attention to the work that the other pair is doing, so that everyone understands

whats going on in the experiments.

The group verifying Boyles and Charles laws should start heating 600 mL of water in a 800 mL

beaker to 90C (use a Bunsen burner) and, while they are waiting, begin verifying Boyles law.

A. Boyles Law Verification.

Determining The Pressure Inside the Syringe

It is easy to confuse the properties of force and pressure. In fact, many of the ways we use the

136

term pressure in the English language make it synonymous with force. For example, one of the

definitions of pressure in the online version of The American Heritage Dictionary is stated as:

Pressure: The application of continuous force by one body on another that it is

touching; compression.1

As with many terms we use in science, the meanings that scientists give to force and pressure are

more precisely defined than those applied in everyday usage. The scientific definition of

pressure in the same online dictionary is given as:

Pressure: (Abbr. P) Physics. Force applied uniformly over a surface, measured

as force per unit of area.2

If someone were to place their hand against your back and apply a force of 10 lbs 3, it would feel

about the same as if you were lying on your stomach and a 10 lb weight were placed on your

back. However, if someone were to place their hand on your back and apply a pressure of 2 psi

(pounds per square inch, lbs/in2, or lbs in-2), it would feel the same if you were on your stomach

and 50 lbs of weight was placed on your back because a hand has an area of approximately 25 in 2

(25 in2 2 lbs/in2 = 50 lbs).

In the Boyles Law experiment, you will apply different forces to the syringe plunger (in

lbs) by placing various weights on it. Inside the syringe, that force is distributed across the

internal face of the plunger. The resulting pressure increase inside the syringe due to the addition

of the weights can be determined using the formula

Padded

Area of plunger face

Assuming the weight of the top is negligible, the initial pressure inside the syringe (with no

weights added) is equal to atmospheric pressure. The barometric (atmospheric) pressure (Patm)

will be measured by your instructor and written on the blackboard in the lab. The pressure inside

the syringe (Psyringe) is the sum of these two components (Psyringe = Patm + Padded). Make sure both

pressures are converted to atm before adding them together.

Pressure-Volume Measurements

1. Slide the wooden block marked TOP onto the syringe end (see Figure 1a).

2. Draw at least 35 cc of air into the syringe, insert the syringe into the hole in the wooden

block marked BOTTOM, and firmly place the cap on the syringe through the hole on the

bottom of the wooden block (Figure 1b).

1

http://www.answers.com/pressure&r=67, accessed on 8/4/2008.

3

Pound is a measure of the force exerted by the gravitational pull of the Earth on a mass. Since the gravitational

force is essentially the same anywhere on the face of the earth, that force is proportional to mass and can be used as

a measure of mass on the Earth.

2

137

3. Stand the apparatus upright (Figure 1c). While your partner is steadying the syringe, place a

2.5 lb weight on the top of the apparatus (Figure 1d). Record the resulting volume and the

amount of weight added. Repeat this with various increasing amounts of weight in 2.5 lb

increments until you have made five measurements of weights and volume. IMPORTANT:

DO NOT use more than 15 lbs on the apparatus.

4. Remove all of the weights. Reset the syringe by pulling it up to its original volume (you may

need to remove the cap end to do this).

5. Repeat the experiment so that you have two volume measurements for each weight.

6. Record the air temperature using a thermometer. We will assume that the air temperature is

the same as the temperature of the gas (air) in the syringe.

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

Figure 1. Boyles Law apparatus

138

B. Charless Law Verification.

1. Place an 800 mL beaker containing 600 mL of water on a tripod stand, with a piece of wire

gauze under the beaker. Place some boiling chips or crushed pieces of porcelain into the

flask to provide a surface for bubbles to form on. Heat the water to 90 using a Bunsen

burner. Do not place the Charles Law apparatus in the water while it is being heated!

2. Draw at least 30 cc of air into the syringe and firmly place a cap on it.

3. Place the syringe into the large hole and a thermometer into the small hole of the long block

of wood (see Figure 2). Place the block on top of the beaker of hot water. Do not allow

water to enter the top of the syringe. The gas chamber in the syringe should remain

submerged in the water throughout the experiment, but the portion of the syringe above the

gas chamber does not need to be submerged. One partner can steady the syringe while the

other makes temperature and volume readings.

4. Allow two minutes for the syringe to equilibrate with the water.

5. Compress the syringe approximately 5 ccs and allow it to return to position. Record the

volume in the syringe as well as the temperature.

6. Repeat step 5, recording this volume as your second measurement.

7. Allow the water to cool and continue to record volume measurements at approximately 20C

increments. Use an ice bath to speed up the cooling process. After the temperature reaches

35C, you can use a few ice chips to reduce the temperature further.

139

C. Avogadros Law Verification.

For this portion of the lab, we will use the decomposition of KClO 3 into KCl and O2 gas to

explore Avogadros Law according to the reaction below. The number of moles of KClO3 lost

upon heating is entirely due to the moles of oxygen that are produced, as measured by the

difference in weight before and after heating

2KClO3(s) 2KCl(s) + 3O2(g)

1. Obtain an ignition tube containing the KClO3/MnO2 mixture, stopper assembly, gas buret

with pinch clamp, and metal tub.

2. Attach a pinch clamp to the rubber tubing on the gas buret, fill the buret with tap water,

invert it, and place the lip of the buret under water. Hold the buret upright with a buret clamp

(see Figure 3a). Open the pinch clamp to allow water to run out of the buret until the water

level drops to a measurable level on the buret (below, but not exactly on the 50.00 mL mark)

(see Figure 3b). Read this volume level to the nearest 0.01 mL.

3. Place the L-shaped end of the stopper assembly into the gas buret (see Figure 3c).

4. Weigh the ignition tube containing the KClO3/MnO2 mixture.

5. Spread the KClO3/MnO2 mixture evenly along the length of the tube and clamp it in place.

(a)

(b)

Figure 3. Avogadros Law apparatus

(c)

140

6. Attach the stopper to the ignition tube and attach this assembly to a ring stand. Gently heat

the tube until the mixture starts to bubble (1-3 minutes, depending on your Bunsen burner),

and remove the heat. (If the level of the gas drops below the zero mark on the buret, you

have produced too much gas and cannot use the data from that experiment.)

7. Allow the tube to cool, and record the final volume reading to the nearest 0.01 mL. Use the

initial and final volume readings to determine the volume of the gas produced. Weigh the

test tube to determine the mass of oxygen produced.

8. Reassemble the apparatus and make at least five successful measurements.

141

LAB REPORT

The Gas Laws

Name ________________________________

Date _________

Partners ________________________________

Section _________

________________________________

________________________________

A. Boyles Law Verification.

Air temperature:

__________

Weight

Volume 1

Volume 2

Avg. Volume

Pressure (atm)

2.5 lbs

5.0 lbs

7.5 lbs

10.0 lbs

12.5 lbs

15.0 lbs

1. Average the two volume measurements for each weight.

2. Calculate the pressure in atm exerted by each weight on the gas in the syringe. Pressure is

equal to force/area (P=F/A). For a circle, A= r2. The average diameter of the syringe you

will use in lab is 0.937 inches. Convert this number to atmospheres using the relationship

1 atm = 14.7 psi. You will need to add the atmospheric pressure for that day (in units of atm)

to this value in order to determine the total pressure exerted.

3. Plot average volume (y-axis) versus pressure (x-axis) using Excel. Include the trendline and

R2 value.

Show your work:

142

B. Charles Law Verification.

Temperature

(C)

Temperature

(K)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Avg. Volume

2. Plot the average volume (y-axis) versus temperature (x-axis), converted to Kelvin, using

Excel. Include the trendline and R2 value.

Show your work:

143

C. Avogadros Law Verification.

Mass of test

tube before

heating

Mass of test

tube after

heating

Mass of O2

Moles of O2

Volume

1. Since oxygen is the only gas evolved, you can determine the moles of gas produced using the

molar mass of oxygen.

2. Plot the volume of gas produced (y-axis) versus moles of gas evolved (x-axis) using Excel.

Include the trendline and R2 value.

Show your work:

144

D. Post Lab Questions

1. Based on your data, what is the relationship between pressure and volume in regard to gases?

Does this agree with Boyles Law? Explain your answer.

2. Based on your data, what is the relationship between temperature and volume in regard to

gases? Does this agree with Charless Law? Explain your answer.

3. Based on your data, what is the relationship between the number of moles of a gas and the

volume it occupies? Does this agree with Avogadros Law? Explain your answer.

4. You can use the data collected to verify the value of R, the ideal gas constant (R= 0.0821 L

atm K-1 mol-1). From the ideal gas law (PV = nRT), R is a ratio between the product of VP

and nT (R= VP/nT). Assume that the density of air is 1.20 g/L and that the molecular

weight of air is 28.8 g/mol, and use these values to convert the volume of air you began with,

35 mL, to moles of air. Use the data you collected in Boyles law to verify the gas constant

for each measurement you made. Make sure that you use proper units. Comment on the

accuracy of your calculations.

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