Lecture Demos: Thermodynamics

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Constant Volume Bulb

Constant Volume Bulb

This experiment uses a constant volume thermometer to measure the pressure change with temperature. The Constant Volume Thermometer consists of a sealed steel sphere filled with helium. The pressure of the thermometer is measured first at room temperature, then in boiling water, ice water if desired and finally in liquid nitrogen.

PIRA Code(s): 
4E30.10
Set up time: 
5 minutes
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Gas Laws, Thermodynamics
Operation: 
Fill sphere with water and submerge in buckets of water or liquid nitrogen at different temperatures. Dewar of liquid nitrogen and bucket can be obtained in the physics machine shop.
Safety: 
Always wear protective clothing when handling liquid nitrogen.

Pulse Flask

Pulse Flask

A tube with a small bulb on each end partially filled with a volatile liquid is held by one bulb in the palm forcing the liquid into the other bulb.

PIRA Code(s): 
4C33.50
Set up time: 
No setup required
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Change of State, Vapor Pressure
Operation: 
Hold one bulb in your hand so that it forces the liquid to enter the other bulb.
Safety: 
Do not grasp too tightly as the glass may break.

Ball and Ring

Ball and Ring

Ball and Ring

PIRA Code(s): 
4A30.20
Set up time: 
2 minutes
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Thermodynamics, Thermal Properties of Matter, Thermal Expansion
Operation: 
Try putting the ring around the ball. At room temperature the ring is slightly larger than the ball. Heat the ball over a Bunsen burner and it will no longer fit through the ring.
Safety: 
Use caution when using a Bunsen burner. The Bunsen burner is not included in the experiment.

Bimetal Strips

Bimetal Strips

Strips of dissimilar metals bonded together bend when heated because the two metals expand different amounts.

PIRA Code(s): 
4A30.10
Set up time: 
1 minute
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Thermodynamics, Thermal Properties of Matter, Thermal Expansion
Operation: 
Use a Bunsen burner to heat a bimetal strip and it will bend
Safety: 
Use caution when dealing with the Bunsen burner. Bunsen burner not included.

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