Pressure Essay, Research Paper

Aim: To find out the effect of temperature on the pressure of air.


? 400ml beaker

? Bunsen burner

? Data Logger

? Pressure sensor

? Temperature probe

? Round bottom flask

? Connecting leads

? Tripod

? Gauze

? Plastic tubing

? Clamp stand

? Heatproof mat

? Water



1. Set up the apparatus as shown in the diagram.

1. Next, take the readings of the pressure and temperature at intervals of 5?C, ending the experiment at 90?C.

3. Repeat the experiment three times for a good average.

4. Record all results in the data logger and transfer them to a computer.


? Wear goggles

? Tie hair back

? Tie all loose clothing

? Handle all glass with care

? Avoid putting wires near the flames

? Do not spill water; this will make the surface slippery

Fair Test:

? Use the same equipment for each trial

? Have the same time interval in each trial

? Make sure the same amount of water is used in each trial

? Make sure the flask is put into the beaker at the same depth

? Use the same size beaker in each trial

? Try to keep the flame the same in each trial


Particles of air are constantly moving around at different speeds. If the air is trapped inside a container, (e.g. a flask like the one used in this experiment) then the particles will hit the inside walls of the container with enough force to create pressure. Sometimes the particles move around fast. This means they have more kinetic energy. They may have more kinetic energy, because the air may be being heated or perhaps the air is more concentrated. However, if the air particles have more kinetic energy, they will hit the container walls with a larger, stronger force. This then creates more pressure, which is detected by the pressure sensor. (Physics, Tom Duncan, Pages 158-159)

When the air contained in the flask, is heated, the temperature rises and the molecules gain more kinetic energy. This means the particles move around faster, causing the average pressure to increase. (GCSE Physics, Foulds, Page 158)

In this experiment, we kept the volume of air constant, while the temperature is changed. The three pressure laws, one of which states that the pressure of a gas is directly proportional to its temperature. Can be written as


Where P is Pressure in KPascals and T is Temperature in Kelvins. This must mean that if the temperature is doubled, the pressure will also double. If the temperature is halved, the pressure will also be halved.

The reason why this happens is because at a higher temperature the gas particles have more kinetic energy and hit the container walls harder which results in more pressure.


If the temperature is 25?C (298K) and the pressure is 1.0 KPa, then doubling the temperature to 50?C (323K) should double the pressure to 2.0 KPa.

If the temperature is 25?C (298K) and the pressure is 1.0 KPa, then trebling the temperature to 75?C (348K) should treble the pressure to 3.0 KPa.

If this knowledge is put into a graph, where the average pressure in KPascals is plotted against the Temperature in Kelvins, I should get a graph which looks like this: -

The graph shows the directly proportional relationship between pressure (KPa) and temperature (Kelvins).

With my results from the experiment, I will draw and plot an accurate graph like the one above.



(?C)Pressure (KPa)Average

Temperatur-e in KelvinsAverage pressure in KPa (2d.p)

Trial OneTrial TwoTrial Three















Analysis (continued):

From my results and graph, I have found out that as the temperature increases, the pressure also increases. (School Notes, Plashet School) To prove this using my graph, I will quote five values for temperature and pressure, from my graph.








This table clearly shows that as the temperature increases, the pressure increases too.

Increasing the temperature by ten Kelvins, i.e. from 303K to 313K, the new pressure is increased by a factor of two. The new pressure is 7.6KPa.



As you can see from the calculation where I double the temperature from 10K to 20K the pressure increases from 3.2KPa to 7.6KPa and 7.6 divided by 3.2 is 2.4 which can be rounded off to 2. This means that doubling the pressure has roughly doubled the temperature.

This proves my prediction.

The reason why doubling the temperature doubles the pressure, is because when the temperature is doubled, the air particles, which are trapped in the flask, get double the amount of kinetic energy. This means their speed is also doubled, making the particles move faster and collide with the flask walls harder. This in turn creates twice as much pressure.

In my Prediction, I predicted that doubling the pressure would double the temperature. My results prove this prediction, so I can assume my results are quite accurate.


My evidence seems fairly reliable and I think my method worked quite well, because my evidence supports my prediction

Nevertheless, as always a number of things could have gone wrong while doing the experiment, leaving me unable to say me results are perfect.

? The batteries in the data logger could have been low.

? Air could have been escaping from the air filled flask.

? The water in the beaker may have had a different temperature to the air in the flask.

? The plastic tubing may have been too loose, causing air loss.

To improve the reliability of my method I could do the following:

? I could smear petroleum jelly around any part where air could be escaping from, to prevent air loss.

? To try to make the temperature in the flask the same as the temperature of the water, I could leave the flask in the water longer.

? I could use new batteries before each trial.


The volume of the air in the flask can also effect the pressure, as well as temperature. In a future experiment, I could vary the volumes of air to see the effect a constant temperature has on it. This experiment would help me to find out how volume effects pressure. I would expect this variation to change my results. The lower the volume of the air, the less particles to collide with the container walls. This means the pressure for a low volume should also be low. If the volume were high, I would expect a high pressure, due to the many more particles, which would collide with the flask walls.

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