Sitting on Nails-Boyle's Law
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Cieslik, Daniel Mather High School
1. To understand the difference between force and pressure.
2. To illustrate that pressure is a force per unit area.
3. To show pressure is a scalar while weight (i.e. force) is a vector
4. To show the relation between pressures above and below atmospheric
pressure upon the volume of an enclosed gas when the temperature
remains constant. (Boyle's Law)
5. To illustrate the graph of an inverse relation.
6. To show the effect of atmospheric pressure on a partial vacuum.
Three 1/2" plywood boards whose dimensions are 40 cm. x 20 cm. The
first board has one nail in the center. The second has four nails in
the center at the corners of a square about 6 cm. on a side. The
third has 420 nails that are spaced 1 cm. apart, covering an area of
30 cm. x 15 cm.
(Obj. 4 & 5)
A modified hypodermic syringe used Boyle's Law Experiment similar to
Science Kit and Boreal Lab. Cat. No. 64710. Take off the base and top
of the syringe and suspend the syringe from a test tube clamp with
the plunger up for positive pressure and with the plunger down for
negative pressure. A series of standard laboratory weights are needed
to provide the forces.
The final part requires an empty ditto fluid can.
Ask students if they would sit on boards with one and four nails.
Show the students the board with the 420 nails and ask them if they
would sit on these nails. If you are not successful, you sit on the
nails. At this point(s) you should also get one of the students to
sit on the nails.
Have the students collect data on the volume of air as a function of
the pressure on the enclosed air. Have them graph their results. To
illustrate the final objective take an empty ditto can with about a
cubic centimeter of water in it; with the cover off the can heat it
vigorously. Cover the can tightly and allow it to cool. After it is
cooled, you take off the cap and blow up the can with your lung power.