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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 1 (2008) pp 14-15

Boyle’s Law: A Lesson in Experiment Design or a Failed Experiment Made Right

Jesse G. Spencer

Department of Chemistry, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698,
Received March 4, 2007. Accepted October 12, 2007.

Published online: 1 February 2008

Abstract. In an attempt to verify Boyle’s law, students in general chemistry use commercial data acquisition hardware and software to measure gas pressure and volume and then calculate the pressure-volume product in an attempt to show that the product is constant.  The resulting product is not constant and, when the PV product is plotted versus pressure, there is a linear decrease with increasing pressure.  Students, who are encouraged to investigate the apparatus to seek a reason for the disagreement with Boyle’s law, discover an unrecorded gas volume within the apparatus and then develop a method for treating the data to determine the unrecorded volume and to verify Boyle’s law. The technique is illustrated with data from a student experiment. This experiment should be well suited to the POGIL teaching method although we have not done this here.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; gas laws

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Issue date: February 1, 2008

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