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Gay-Lussac's Law

Calculations involving pressure-temperature relationships

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Summertime Woe

Gay-Lussac's Law

Recall: Gay-Lussac’s law describes how the temperature of gas is directly proportional to the pressure of the gas.

Credit: user FlickrLickr
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flat_tire.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A car with a flat tire [Figure1]

It’s a hot summer day and, while driving to your grandma’s house, your tires pop! You pull over to the side inspect the damage. You do not find any sharp objects, but you find a hole in the tire. You consult your Chemistry textbook to find out what has happened and conclude that your tires have popped in effect to Gay-Lussac’s law. Due to the heat of the summer, the pressure built up in the tires have caused them to pop!

Gay-Lussac’s law does not only apply to tires. Check out this video of an exploding soda can! Identify what component in the can allows it to build pressure and explode. (skip to 1:45 to see the action)

Creative Applications

1. A balloon is inflated at room temperature and the pressure is recorded. Predict what will happen to the pressure of this balloon after it is placed in the freezer for 2 hours.

2. If you drove your car in the winter, what problems would potentially you face with your tires?

3. What other situations can you think of where Gay-Lussac’s law would apply?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: user FlickrLickr; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flat_tire.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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