Charles' Law

Gases - Gas Laws
Science Standards

History

Explore the discoverer's biography, including general facts about his life and anecdotes regarding how he made this particular discovery. Also see other significant scientific discoveries built largely on this concept and other real-world applications in history that may not still be relevant.

Discoverer/Developer

Charles' Law from 1787. Jacques Charles (1746-1823) was a French-born balloonist who flew the first hydrogen balloon in 1783. Charles did an experiment filling 5 different balloons with the same volume of 5 different gases and heating them each uniformly. He noted the balloons each grew uniformly. This observation wasn't published until 1802, by Gay-Lussac, but was named for the original observer, Charles.

Use/Application through History

Charles' Law contributed to the development of the kinetic theory of matter.  Charles' Law can also be applied to osmosis, which, in turn, allows the determination of molecular weights by osmotic pressure.

 

Concept Definition

Study the primary definition of this concept, broken into general, basic, and advanced English definitions. Also see the mathematical definition and any requisite background information, such as conditions or previous definitions.

General Science

Volume increases as temperature increases if pressure remains constant. Volume decreases as temperature decreases if pressure remains constant.

Basic

Volume and temperature of a gas at constant pressure are directly proportionate.

Advanced

Volume (V) and temperature (T) are directly proportionate for a constant pressure.

Mathematical Definition

$V \propto T$

$\frac{V}{T} = k\ (constant)$

$\frac{V_1}{T_1}=\frac{V_2}{T_2}$

Background Information

Ideal Gas

An "ideal gas" is a gas in which:

  • All collisions are totally elastic (particles always bounce off each other)
  • There are no intermolecular attractions (a particle can only change direction when it collides with another particle)
  • The molecule is infinitely small (particles will come all the way together before they collide)

What does this mean? An ideal gas is a collection of bouncy-balls.

 

Real World Application

Discover processes or disciplines in the natural or man-made worlds that employ the concept.

A balloon blown up inside a warm building will shrink when it is carried to a colder area, like the outdoors.

Humans' lung capacity is reduced in colder weather; runners and other athletes may find it harder to perform in cold weather for this reason.

Charles' Law, along with a couple other gas laws, is responsible for the rising of bread and other baked goods in the oven; tiny pockets of air from yeast or other ingredients are heated and expand, causing the dough to inflate, which ultimately results in a lighter finished baked good.

Car (combustion) engines work by this principle; the heat from the combustion of the fuel causes the cylinder to expand, which pushes the piston and turns the crankshaft.

 

Vocabulary

Learn important vocabulary for this concept, including words that might appear in assessments (tests, quizzes, homework, etc.) that indicate the use of this concept.

 Important Vocabulary

Term Context
Constant Pressure
  • expands/compresses at a constant pressure
Isobaric
  • gas in an isobaric process
  • expands/compresses isobaricly
Standard Pressure
  • expands/compresses at standard pressure

 

Videos

Browse relevant videos from the Journal of Chemical Education's (JCE) Chemistry Comes Alive! library and other video sources.

Hot Air Thermometer

To demonstrate Charles' Law, air trapped behind a column of colored fluid is heated; the change in the height of the fluid indicates the increase in volume of the gas.


Duration: 14.9 s s; Size: 486 KB

Shrinking Balloon

To demonstrate Charles' Law, liquid nitrogen is poured over a balloon filled with air.


Duration: 11.5 s s; Size: 464 KB

Collapsing a Metal Container

 

Computer Animations

Experience computer simulators or animations that illustrate the concept discussed here. Many simulators or animations come with worksheets for use in class.
  http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/Animation/frglab2.html
  http://www.walter-fendt.de/ph14e/gaslaw.htm
comPADRE http://phet.colorado.edu/simulations/sims.php?sim=Gas_Properties
comPADRE http://homepages.ius.edu/kforinas/physlets/thermo/piston.html
CSERD http://www.mhhe.com/physsci/chemistry/essentialchemistry/flash/gasesv6.swf
CSERD http://intro.chem.okstate.edu/1314F00/Laboratory/GLP.htm
CSERD http://preparatorychemistry.com/Bishop_animations.htm

 

Classroom Demonstations

Investigate lab procedures suitable for live classroom demonstrations or guided student exploration.

Students requiring adaptations to gain the full benefit of a demonstration may find a worksheet with guided observations useful. Alternatively, a teacher may wish to use a worksheet with guided observations to model what observations all students should be making during a demonstration.

The Demonstration Observation Worksheet is available in

  • PDF [ready to print]
  • Word 2007/2008 DOCX [free to edit/adapt further]

 Demos

Soda Can



Demonstrations

   
Print | Email | Create PDF from demo

Soda Can

Soda Can
 
Author: Gerad Bandos
Description:
Purpose: Demonstrate Charles' Law by imploding an aluminum soda can with nothing more than a bowl of ice water. Explanation: The sudden drop in temperature inside the can from ~95°C to ~0°C makes the pressure drop quickly. The difference in pressure between the room and the inside of the can is too much for the aluminum, so the can collapses.
Usage:
No Description available
 
Futher Images
tn_soda-can-1-p1-62.gif tn_soda-can-1-p2-62.gif tn_soda-can-1-p3-62.gif tn_soda-can-1-p4-62.gif  
 
 
Safety:
No Description available
 
Equipment:
No Description available
 
Materials:
1 empty aluminum soda can 1 bowl ice water heat source (electric stove, hot plate, etc.) 1-2 mL H2O
 
Procedure:
Heat can right-side-up to 100°C. To make sure the can is hot enough, put a couple drops of water on the top of the can. When the water drops dry, the can is hot enough. Add water. 1-2 mL. Wait about 25 seconds. Quickly turn the can upside-down in the bowl of ice water.
 
Notes:
Wear safety goggles at all times. Do not handle the hot can with bare hands. Do not overheat the can. Once all the water evaporates, the can heats up very quickly, and it will melt and cause a fire. Do not drink from or otherwise the soda can after the experiment.
 
Disposal:
No Description available
 
Difficulty:No specific experience required
Preparation Time:  minutes Demonstration Time: 1 minutes
Availability of Materials:Local grocery store
Cost of materials:
Last Updated:Tue 09 Aug 2011 12:44:36 EDT Viewed:178582 times viewed
Source:ChemEd DL, Gerad Bandos, 10 Dec 2008, ChemEd DL

Comment Author Comment
Unregistered users are not allowed to post comments. Please register first.

Hard-Boiled Egg



Demonstrations

   
Print | Email | Create PDF from demo

Hard-Boiled Egg

Hard-Boiled Egg

Credit: Gerad Bandos

 
Author: Gerad Bandos
Description:
Purpose: Demonstrate Guy-Lussac's Law by sucking a hard-boiled egg into a flask.
Usage:
No Description available
 
Futher Images
tn_hard-boiled-egg-2-p1-62.gif tn_hard-boiled-egg-2-p2-62.gif tn_hard-boiled-egg-2-p3-62.gif  
Credits, from left: Gerad Bandos, Gerad Bandos, Gerad Bandos
 
Safety:
Wear safety goggles at all times. Do not consume the egg after it has been used. Do not handle the hot flask with your bare hands.
 
Equipment:
No Description available
 
Materials:
1 hard boiled egg To make a hard-boiled egg: Fill a saucepan with cold water, about 2-3 inches. Bring to a vigorous boil. Quickly reduce to medium boil. Cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and place immediately into ice-water. To peel, crack gently and roll firmly between hands to crack whole shell. Run under water and peel the shell. The shell should come off in large pieces. 1 500-mL Erl flask 1 bowl ice water heat source thermometer long knife or scoopula
 
Procedure:
Heat Erl. flask gently to ~95°C. Monitor heating with thermometer. Place egg resting on neck of flask. Narrow end must be down. Immediately remove from heat. Place into ice water. Result should yield within 5 seconds. To remove the egg, slice inside flask using long knife or scoopula.
 
Notes:
Explanation: The sudden drop in temperature inside the flask from ~100°C to ~0°C creates a drop in pressure. The decreased pressure is enough to suck the egg into the flask.
 
Disposal:
No Description available
 
Difficulty:No specific experience required
Preparation Time:15 minutes Demonstration Time: 1 minutes
Availability of Materials:Local grocery store
Cost of materials:$1
Last Updated:Tue 09 Aug 2011 12:44:21 EDT Viewed:178677 times viewed
Source:ChemEd DL, Gerad Bandos, 10 Dec 2008, ChemEd DL

Comment Author Comment
Unregistered users are not allowed to post comments. Please register first.

 

Summary

Read a summary of the concept, indicating the enduring understanding students should retain after class.

 Summary

If pressure does not change, increasing the temperature of a container will increase its volume. Decreasing the temperature of the container will decrease its volume.

 

Works Cited

Review the works cited to write the researched parts of this page, such as the discover's biographical information and other areas.

 Works Cited

Frank, David V. "Gas Behavior." Physical Science. Teacher's ed. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall, 2002. 51-60.

Hutchinson, John. The Ideal Gas Law. Connexions. 16 Jan. 2005 .

HyperPhysics. Nave, C. R. 2006. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University. 20 Jan. 2009 .

Ihde, Aaron J. The Development of Modern Chemistry. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

Partington, J. R. A Short History of Chemistry. 2nd Ed. London: Macmillan and Co., 1948.

Wistrom, Cheryl. "The Gas Laws." Chemistry: Concepts and Applications. Teacher's wraparound ed. New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2000. 382-392.

Comments (0)