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Beginner's Guide to Propulsion
Boyle's Law

If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.
Before You Begin:

  • Additional Materials needed per student: 1 sandwich size ziploc bag, 1 straw.
  • After reading the Web page Boyle's Law and using the Animated Gas Lab, complete the activity to answer questions using Boyle's Law.
    For a given mass, at constant temperature, the 
                pressure times the volume is a constant: p V equals C

  • Answer the questions shown below.
    • Click on Animated Gas Lab.
    • On the left, under "Freeze One Variable," click on "Mass."
    • After viewing "Mass is frozen," click on "Temperature."
    • Next, click on the green area "Effect of changing volume on pressure."

  1. Which variable is plotted on the graph's vertical axis?

  2. Which variable is plotted on the graph's horizontal axis?

  3. Locate the temperature gauge. You may need to scroll down. What is the Kelvin temperature?

  4. Which of the following conditions is that temperature closer to? room temperature? human body temperature? freezer temperature?

  5. The red plunger is used to exert pressure on the gas molecules in which colored area?

  6. Complete the table below as you watch the animated gas lab.



  7. What do you predict the volume will be when the pressure changes to 4.00?

  8. Sketch the completed pressure-volume graph.

  9. Click on "Effect of changing pressure on volume." Describe what is added to the piston to increase the pressure.

  10. Sketch the completed volume-pressure graph.

  11. Write the formula equation for Boyle's Law.

  12. Write the equation for Boyle's Law in words.

  13. In the Animated Gas Lab, what are the units of pressure? (Click on Boyle's Law if you need help.)

  14. What are the units of volume used in this lab?

  15. Predict what the volume in this lab would be if the pressure were 8.00.

  16. Predict what the volume in this lab would be if the pressure were 0.500.

  17. State Boyle's law in your own words.

  18. Zip a sandwich bag nearly closed. Insert a straw into the opening and blow through the straw to inflate the bag so that it is a little over half full of air. Completely seal the bag. Now slowly roll the zipper part of the bag toward the bottom of the bag, decreasing the volume of the bag. Describe what happens to the pressure of the air in the bag as you decrease its volume.

  19. How does your experience with the plastic bag compare to the animated gas lab?

  20. If, in either situation, instead of having a closed container you had a small opening in the bottom of it, what would eventually happen to the gas?

  21. Referring to the previous question, what would happen to the volume of the gas in the container?

  22. Referring to the previous question, what would happen to the pressure of the gas?

  23. Based on the questions above, hypothesize why a jet engine must constantly have air flowing into it in order to maintain pressure.

If you need help answering this, click on Gas Turbine Parts and read about pressure in engines.

Related Pages:
Propulsion Activity Index
Propulsion Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:38 PM EDT 2021

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