Charles' Law and Absolute Zero

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Charles’ Law and Absolute Zero
Date of experiment: November 4, 2010
Date submitted: November 11, 2010

As per Charles’ Law, there is a linear relationship between the temperature and volume of a gas.  Charles discovered that -273°C is the point at which a gas has no volume. Since that's as cold as he thought things could ever get, that originated the idea of absolute zero. In this experiment, Charles’ Law was applied and made into data to determine an experimental value for Absolute Zero. To do so, a fixed amount of gas was confined in a small, uniform sample tube. The temperature of the gas was changed, by being placed in water. The expected result is that as the temperature of the gas gets cooler (decreases), the volume of gas will decrease.

A 400mL beaker was filled with tap water and place on a hot plate until the thermometer read 55°C. Then a sample tube filled with two mercury plugs was obtained from the instructor. With a ruler, the distance between the two mercury plugs was recorded. Using small rubber bands, the sample tube was strapped to the ruler, which was then attached to the bottom of thermometer. A cork was attached onto the top of the thermometer, and then clamped in the beaker of pre-heated water. The initial temperature and distance between each plug in the pre-heated water were then recorded. Ice was added and stirred every so often to cool the temperature of the water. When the beaker was going to overflow, small amounts of the water were removed by a pipet. The temperature and distance between each plug were then recorded every two minutes. Eight sets of temperatures were recorded when the goal temperature of 0.1°C was achieved.


1) Temperature and Distance Between Mercury Plugs Every 2mins

Time (minutes)| Temperature of water (°C)| Distance between plugs (mm)| 0 (Plugs out of water)| 49.8| 60.2 (in room temp)|
2 (Plugs in water)| 46.3| 63.8|
4| 42.2| 63.3|
6| 39.3|...
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