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Practical 2: Experimental Determination of using Clement and Desormes Method Objective:

To determine the ratio of specific heat of gas at constant volume and temperature.

By definition Cv(or Cp) denotes the amount of heat energy which must be absorbed by one mole of a gas at constant volume (or pressure) to raise the temperature of the gas by one degree. The absorbed heat energy causes the molecules to move faster (increase in translational energy), to rotate faster (increase in rotational energy) and to vibrate faster (increase in vibrational energy). Thus the knowledge of heat capacities plays a role in understanding the complexity of gaseous molecules. Unfortunately the easiest method for determining the individual heat capacities of gases is beyond the capability of an undergraduate laboratory. The heat capacity ratio, = Cp/Cv, is just as useful in understanding the structure of gaseous molecules and is more accessible experimentally. Clement and Desormes devised a simple method for the determination of the ratio of specific heat of gas, . In this experiment, the Clement and Desormes approach will be used to determine the ratio of specific heats of air at constant pressure and constant volume.

The gas is enclosed in a vessel of badly conducting material at a pressure slightly higher than the external atmospheric pressure. The vessel is fitted with a stopcock or tap, giving good communication with the outer air, so that on opening the stopcock the gas undergoes a sudden change of volume, which under the conditions is approximately adiabatic. If the variation in the pressure and volume can be found, then from the relation <PV = constant>, the value of can be obtained.

Experimental Apparatus

A vessel stuffed with badly conducting material fitted with a tap A U-tube manometer Metre Rule Hand-pump Pipe


Experimental procedure
Procedures: The initial reading of the water level of both arms of the U-tube manometer is noted. Then air is pumped into the vessel using the hand-pump until an appreciable difference is noted between the levels of water in the two arms of the manometer. As soon as the required pressure is reached, the pump is immediately disconnected and the apparatus is given some time for the pressure and the meniscus of the manometer to adjust at a stable condition. The height of the water level in both arms of the manometer is read and the values are tabulated. The tap is opened for a very short fraction of time so as to allow contact with the atmosphere. The pressure is awaited to become stable again. The readings of the water level in both arms of the manometer are noted. The experiment is repeated eight times, each time varying the pressure injected into the vessel by the hand-pump.

Precautions: The experiment must be performed in a conditioned room suitable for the success of the experiment. Example: the room must be drought so as there is almost no change in temperature which might affect the pressure and hence the experimental values. Enough time must be allowed for the pressure and level of water in the manometer to be stabilized. Two white sheets of paper is placed behind the manometer where the level of water is to be read for a better contrast and to avoid parallax error. The hand-pump must be removed as soon as after injecting air to prevent loss of pressure. The tap is opened for a very short fraction of time to minimize any heat loss to the surrounding (so as to ensure the quasi-static adiabatic expansion simulation). Caution is taken when pumping air into the vessel so as the water in the manometer does not overflow.

Experimental results

Raw Data: Inserting air inside vessel using pump Experimental No. Height of water column, hA/cm 25.5 8.4 24.2 23.5 20.2 18.0 14.4 11.0 Table 1.1 Height of water column, hB/cm 28.5 45.0 29.8 30.5 33.7 35.8 39.3 42.4 Difference in height of water columns,h1/cm 3.0 36.6 5.6 7.0 13.5 17.8 24.9 31.4

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Release of pressure in vessel (letting air out of stopcock) Experimental No. Height of water column, hC/cm 26.8 16.3 28.6 25.2 25.5 24.4 24.2 22.1 Table 1.2 Height of water column, hD/cm 27.5 37.5 27.6 28.9 28.6 29.8 29.9 31.9 Difference in height of water columns,h2/cm 0.7 21.2 1.0 3.7 3.1 5.4 5.7 9.8

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Calculated results: Since water (H2O) is used in this experiment: P0 = Patm = 756mm X Hg = (756mm X 1.36) mm H2O = 1028mm H2O






1058 1394 1084 1098 1163 1206 1277 1342

3.024 3.144 3.035 3.041 3.066 3.011 3.106 3.128

1098 1240 1038 1065 1059 1082 1085 1126

3.041 3.093 3.016 3.027 3.025 3.034 3.035 3.052

3.012 3.012 3.012 3.012 3.012 3.012 3.012 3.012

Table 1.3 From the Theory section, = log(Po / P1)/log(P2/ P1) = logPo logP1 log P2 logP1 Using values from Table 1.3 and equation 8,the average for the specific heat of air, , is found to be 1.359. Calculated valuesof from table 1.3 : 0.706, 2.588, 1.211, 2.071, 1.317, 0.043, 1.324, 1.526 (excluding 2nd and 3rd readings due to possible errors during measurement) Average = 8.155 / 6 = 1.359 ..(8)

Possible sources of errors:

Insufficient time may have been allowed for steady conditions to be obtained during experimental steps such as pumping of air, release of pressure.

There may have been lost of air due to the wearing of the apparatus used for the experiment. There may have changes in temperature while the experiment has been performed. Heat may have been lost to the surroundings while opening stopcock to release pressure in vessel. The time during which the vessel is kept open to the atmosphere will also affect the results: if the time is too short, the gas will not drop to atmospheric pressure and the value of will be high; if the time is too long, the gas will exchange thermal energy with the air in the room and value of will be low.

Theory Consider a mass of gas enclosed in a vessel at a pressure P1 which is slightly greater than atmospheric pressure Po(shown below in Fig.2)

(Fig. 2) The pressure P1 is measured by the difference in the heights h1 of the two columns of a manometer containing water of density d grams per cubic centimeter so that P1 = Po + h1dg ..(1)

where both P1 and Po are measured in newton per square meter. The initial temperature of the gas is TC, i.e., the temperature of the laboratory. Suppose that by momentarily opening a valve the gas is allowed to attain atmospheric pressure Po. The change in pressure takes place so rapidly that there is no transfer of heat to or from external sources and the expansion is said to be purely adiabatic. The compressed gas in the vessel has to do some work in forcing some of the gas out

of the vessel during the expansion. Consequently immediately after closing the valve the temperature of the gas remaining in the vessel is below room temperature. If the gas is now allowed to warm up to room temperature, the pressure increases to some value p2 given by P2 = Po + h2dg .(2)

where h2 is the difference in the heights of the manometer columns. Let V1, V0, and V2 denote the initial, intermediate and final volumes of unit mass of the gas in the vessel, so that in each case the same mass of gas is considered. If the expansion from the initial state, pressure P1 volume V1, to the intermediate state, pressure Po volume V0, is adiabatic, the pressure and volumes are related by the equation P1V1 = PoVo ..(3) where is the ratio of the specific heats of the gas at constant pressure and constant volume respectively. Since the gas in the initial and final states is at the same temperature, the relation between the pressures and volumes is given by Boyles law, or P1V1 = P2V2 .(4) Now V2 = Vo since there is the same mass of gas in the vessel in the intermediate and final states. To find the relationship existing between and the various pressures it is necessary to eliminate the various volumes V0, V1, V2 in Equations (3) and (4). From Eq. (4), raising both sides of the equation to the same power , it follows that (V1/V2) = (P2/ P1) .(5) From Eq. (3) and the fact that V2 = Vo (V1/V2) = Po / P1 .(6) Thus (P2/ P1) = Po / P1 .(7) or = log(Po / P1)/log(P2/ P1) ..(8) If the various pressures do not differ greatly from atmospheric, then the expression for may be further simplified which becomes = (Po- P1)/(P2 - P1) approximately

In the Clement & Desormes experiment, the expansion is quasi-adiabatic, as the heat transfer from external source is very small (for the vessel is a good insulator of heat) and is neglected. Thus the initial temperature is equal to the final temperature. The graph below (Fig. 3) visually explains what happens in the experiment.

Fig. 3

From the experimental results, it can be deduced that the specific heat ratio of air can be used as an ideal-gas property.

1. The specific heat of a gas is important to the process modeler (the control engineers)for industrial processes. 2. It also helps engineers better understand and design diesel or jet or any other engines whereby adiabatic processes take place. 3. This research also eventually led others to invent the process of photography.

4. The specific heat ratio also helps engineers solve a number of problems encountered in Thermodynamics (like for isentropic quasi-static, adiabatic process, reversible process).

Sargen-Welch Scientific Company, 2003, Selective Experiments in Physics, viewed 11 December 2010 http://sargentwelch.com/info.asp?ii=505

orca.phys.uvic.ca/~tatum/thermod/thermod8.pdf, viewed 13 December 2010 http://www.google.mu/search?q=clement+and+desormes+experiment&hl=en&client=firefoxa&rls=org.mozilla:enUS:official&channel=s&prmd=iv&ei=wqYETfv5Fo7m4galuMzRDA&start=0&sa=N,

Pearson. B, 2010,Clement and Desormes Experiment, viewed 13 December 2010 http://blog.cencophysics.com/2010/02/clement-desormes-experiment/

Philip Thomas, 1999,Simulation of industrial processes for control engineers, ButterworthHeinemann, Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP,225 Wildwood Avenue, Woburn, MA 01801-2041, viewed 15 December 2010 http://books.google.mu/books?id=jdauwTehZ4C&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=importance+of+specific+heat+of+gas+for+engineers &source=bl&ots=tDm5kKRZaP&sig=in7Hkeclc9JdILooBiUMvOUKEYE&hl=en&ei=D3MITb OIFoG08QPdv9xD&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=o nepage&q&f=false