Table of Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics (4A): Thermal Properties of Matter

Thermodynamics (4C): Change of State

Lecture Demonstrations

Heat and the First Law

PIRA classification 4B

Grayed Demos are either not available or haven't been built yet.

4B10. Heat Capacity and Specific Heat


Demonstration Name




specific heat of liquids problem

A note on the inexplicably high specific heat of liquids. See AJP 52(9),856


heat capacity

1) One liter of water in a beaker water and aluminum of 1 Kg total mass in another beaker are heated on the same hot plate. Display temperatures of both. 2) Two beakers, one with 1 Kg water and the other with .5 Kg water and .5 Kg lead are heated at the same rate. 3) Show temp on LED bar graph.


water and oil on a hot plate


water and oil

Heat two beakers on a single hot plate, each contains the same mass of either water or oil.


iron and water

Iron and a vessel of water with the same mass and area are heated on identical Bunsen burners. Dip your hand in the water and sprinkle it on the iron plate where it will sizzle.


mixing water

Different masses of hot and cold water are mixed in a large beaker and the final temp is compared to the calculated value.



A calorimeter is used to measure the specific heat of lead. Known masses of lead and copper are heated and poured into calorimeters with a known mass of water. Specific heats are computed from initial and final temperatures.


ice calorimeter

Several different metals on the same mass are heated to the same temp and lowered into a line of crushed ice filled funnels. The melted water is collected in graduates.


metals in water

Heat metals of the same mass and lower them into beakers containing the same amount of water at room temperature.


specific heat with rods and wax

1) Five metals of the same mass are heated in boiling water and placed on a thin sheet of paraffin. 2) Several cylinders of the different metals with the same mass and diameter are heated in paraffin and transferred to a paraffin disc. 3) Heat equal mass cylinders of aluminum, steel, and lead and let them melt a path through honeycomb.


specific heat at low temperatures

Cylinders of the same size of aluminum and lead heat up at the same rate after being cooled in liquid nitrogen.


differential thermoscope

The jacket areas of two unsilvered unevacuated dewar flasks are connected to a U tube and equal masses of water and mercury at 100 C are poured in. The U tube shows the difference in heat capacities.


heat of combustion

A bomb or continuous flow calorimeter is used to show heating value of foods and fuel.


specific heat of a gas

Heat a gas in a flask by discharging a capacitor through a thin constantan wire and measure the momentary increase in pressure on an attached water manometer. See AJP 33(1),18


Clement's and Desormes' experiment

A 10 L flask fitted with a mercury manometer is over pressured and then the valve is quickly opened and shut. The ratio of pressures is related to the specific heats.


Cp/Cv with water manometer

Replace the mercury in the oscillating column method with water provided the confined air is a large volume. See AJP 35(4),xvi


Ruchhardt's method for Cp/Cv of air

A steel ball in a precision tube oscillates as gas escapes from a slightly overpressured flask.


Ruchhardt's method for gamma

An ordinary glass tube is selected with a slight taper wider at the top. A throttle valve controls the inlet pressure and the oscillations of the ball in the tube are timed. See AJP 32(1), xiii


Ruchhardt's method - add mass

Add additional mass to the oscillating ball and plot period as a function of mass. Ruchhardt's apparatus is driven by a slow flow of gas and the ball is loaded with additional mass. See AJP 32(4),xvi


syringe Ruchhardt's experiment

A glass syringe replaces the precision ball in a precision tube and an accelerometer mounted on the syringe allows the oscillations to be displayed on an oscilloscope. See AJP 53(7),696


Ruchhardt's experiment

Measure the temperature in the flask with the oscillating balls.

4B20. Convection


Demonstration Name






Heat one side of a glass tube loop filled with water and insert some food coloring to trace the convection current.


two chimney convection box

A candle burns under one chimney in a double chimney convection box. Smoke is used to indicate convection in the two chimney box.


convection chimney with vane

A candle in a chimney burns as long as there is a metal vane dividing the chimney into two parts.


convection chimney with confetti


convection projection cell

An electric element heats water in the bottom of a projection cell. Diagram.


convection box

Shadow project convection in a 1 foot square box with hot and cold sinks on the sides.


projection cell

Introduce hot water at the bottom of cold or cold water at the top of warm in a projection cell.


burn your hand

Shadow project a Bunsen burner flame on a screen and hold your hand in the hot gas. Use a Bunsen burner, a hot pipe, dry ice, or ice water.


Barnard cell

A thin layer of paraffin with reflective aluminum flakes is heated until Barnard cells, or convection cells form.

4B30. Conduction


Demonstration Name




2 Rods with Marbles

Waxed balls drop off various metal rods connected to a heat source as the heat is conducted. Waxed balls drop at different times from rods attached to a common heat source.


conduction - dropping balls

The center of a star configuration of five different metal bars is heated to melt wax at the far ends, dropping balls.


thermal conductivity

Dip rods in wax, then watch as the wax melts off. Time Lapse.


sliding pointers

Vertical rods of different metals are soldered onto the bottom of a vessel filled with boiling water. Pointers held by some paraffin slide down as the rods heat. Diagram.


painted rods

Rods of different material are coated with heat sensitive paint and attached to a common heat source. Steam is passed through a manifold with heat sensitive paint coated rods of different materials.


conduction bars


Relative conductivities of bars of metals in a common copper block are indicated by match head ignition or temperature indicating paint.


iron and copper strips

Iron and copper strips are coated with "thermal color" and heated at one end.


four rods - heat conduction


copper and stainless tubes

A contest is held between people holding copper and stainless tubes in twin acetylene torch flames.


poor thermal conduct. of stainless s

Heat a stainless rod/tube with a blow torch until it is white hot and hold the other end.


iron and aluminum rods

A student holds iron and aluminum rods in a burner flame.


toilet seats


wood and metal rod

Wrap a paper around a rod made of alternating sections of wood and metal and hold in a flame.


matches on hot plates

Matches are placed on plates of two different metals over burners.


heat propagation in a copper rod

Solder a copper-constantan thermocouple into a copper rod and thrust the end into a flame.


spreading heatwave

An aluminum bar has a series of small mirrors mounted on small bimetallic strips to allow projection of the curve of the temperature in the bar as it is heated. Construction details in appendix, p.1287.


liquid crystal indicator

Liquid crystal indicator from Edmund Sci. was bonded to a strip and a plate of metal and the resulting color change compared well with a computer generated model. A copper bar is placed on temperature indicating paper and one end is heated. See AJP 41(2),281


heat transfer

A solid copper rod has holes bored to pass steam and cold water from the same end. Thermometers along the rod measure the heat transfer into the water.


anisotropic conduction

Conductivity is greater along the grain in wood and crystals. Heat the center of a thin board covered with a layer of paraffin and watch the melting pattern.


thermal vs. electrical conduction

A rod is fabricated with end sections of copper and a center section of constantan. Temperatures along the rod when heated differentially are compared with voltages along it while a potential is applied.


electrical analog of heat flow

A circuit that gives the electrical analog of heat conduction. See AJP 29(8),549


heat conductivity of water

Boil water in the top of a test tube while ice is held at the bottom.


heat conductivity of water

The bulb of a hot air thermometer is placed in water and a layer of inflammable liquid is poured on top and burned.


heat conduction in gases

Small double walled flasks are filled with ether, the jackets contain different gases. When placed in boiling water, the height of ether flames varies.


heat conductivity of CO2

Author tried using dry ice to cool break the bolt. Nothing happened. See AJP 29(8),549


conduction of heat in a lamp

A carbon filament lamp is filled with different gases at various pressures and the brightness of the filament observed.


glowing tubes

Filaments in Pyrex tubes containing air, flowing hydrogen, and hydrogen at reduced pressure glow with different intensities. Picture.


double glow tube

A single length of Nichrome wire runs through two chambers allowing comparison of thermal conductivity of two gases and variation of pressure.

4B40. Radiation


Demonstration Name




Light the Match


Two parabolic reflectors are aligned across the table, a heat source at the focus of one reflector and a match at the focus of the other. Light the match at the focus of one parabolic reflector with the heating element at the focus of another reflector by transmitted radiation.


reflection of radiation

A beam from a heated metal ball in the focus of a parabolic mirror reflects off another parabolic or flat mirror to a thermopile.


beakers of water at a distance

A thermopile. mounted the at focus of a parabolic mirror detects radiation differences from different colored beakers of water at 20'.


reflection of radiation

Polished sheet metal is used to reflect radiation onto a thermopile. A plate glass mirror is less effective due to IR absorption.


focusing IR radiation

A opaque flask of a solution of iodine in carbon disulfide serves as a lens to focus IR radiation. Iodine dissolved in alcohol gives a filter transmitting in the IR but absorbing in the visible. Ignite a match in the focus of an arc lamp.


ice lens

Form an ice lens between two watch glasses. Focus the light from an arc lamp on a match head.


Leslie Cube I

Relative radiation from various surfaces at the same temperature is shown with a Leslie cube and is measured with a thermopile. Fill a Leslie cube with hot water and use a thermopile to detect the radiation.


Leslie Cube II

Rotate the cube to demonstrate Lambert's law, move the thermopile. away to demonstrate the inverse square law, measure at several temperatures to demonstrate the fourth power law.


radiation and absorption

Two Leslie cubes form a differential thermoscope with a third between. Orient faces shiny to black.


cooling cans

Cooling rates of shiny unpainted, black painted, and white painted cans. Shiny and flat black cans filled with cool water warm up, cool off when filled with boiling water. See AJP 58(3),244


stove element

A sheet of paper is held near a stove heating element painted half white and half black. The element is not scorched when the element is painted white.


hot wire in a tube

A platinum wire is heated inside of a quartz tube showing transparent objects radiate less.


selective absorption

Various screens (black bakelite, Corex red-purple, glass, water, quartz, etc.) and Clear heat absorbing and opaque heat transmission glass filters are inserted between a heat lamp and a radiometer detector.


absorption of radiation

A white card with letters in India ink is exposed lettered side to a hot source charring it locally where the letters are.


Leybold radiation screen

One side of a polished metal plate has a black letter, the other is covered with thermochrome paint.


two thermoscopes

One thermoscope is painted white, the other black, and both are illuminated by a lamp.


surface absorption I

A radiant heater is placed midway between two junctions of a demonstration thermocouple and the junctions are covered with black or white caps.


selective absorption

Focus a large light on a blackened match head, the clear glass bulb of a thermoscope, and the bulb covered with black paper.


surface absorption II

A Leslie cube with opposite faces blackened is placed between two bulbs of a differential thermoscope. Blacken one bulb.


surface absorption III

Make a special thermocouple of a sheet of copper with constant wires attached opposite blackened and whitened areas. Shine a light and expose to a hot water container to show different response at different wavelengths.


radiation thermometers

A heat lamp directed at two thermometers will cause different temperature rises. One thermometer is in a chamber - (?).


soot and flour -nonlinear absorption

Add different amounts of carbon to flour and measure the reflectivity. See AJP 58(7),697

4B50. Heat Transfer Applications


Demonstration Name




four thermos bottles

Monitor the temperatures of water in four thermos bottles with different combinations of vacuum and silvering. Hot water is placed in the four thermos bottles.


bad dewar

Evacuate a unsilvered dewar, pour in liquid air, let air into the space, see frost form.


four thermos bottles - LN2

Pour liquid air into four thermos bottles to sort out conduction, convection and radiation.


boiling water in a paper cup

Burn one paper cup, boil water in another. Fill a KFC bucket 1/8 full of water, boil the water with a Bunsen burner, and burn away the top part of the bucket with a propane torch.


insulation with asbestos

Fight asbestos abatement. Three cans, black, asbestos covered, and shiny, are filled with boiling water and left to cool. An asbestos paper covered can cools faster than a shiny can.


water balloon heat capacity


Pop a balloon with a flame, then heat water in another balloon.



Drop water on a hot plate and liquid nitrogen on the lecture table.


spheroidal state

A nugget of silver heated red and plunged into water does not cause immediate boiling.


spheroidal state

A drop of water suspended from a glass tube above a hot plate is stable until the plate cools. See AJP 46(8),825


Leyden frost effect

Pour liquid air on your hand or roll it about on the top of your tongue.


finger in oil

Heat oil in a beaker, cut a potato and cook a french fry, then wet you finger in a beaker of water and stick it in the hot oil.


spheroidal state

A wet finger can be dipped into molten lead.


reverse Leyden frost effect

Place a brass ball into liquid air in a clear dewar and observe the initial leidenfrost effect. When the ball is cold, place it in a flame and observe the reverse leidenfrost effect as frost forms on the ball while it is in the flame.


greenhouse effect

The temperature of a closed bottle in direct sunlight is compared to the ambient temperature. A chamber with interchangeable windows and provisions to introduce CO2. See AJP 41(3),443


radiation and convection

Put a hot metal object in a smoke filled projection cell and the smoke will be repelled by radiation pressure. Convection will cause an upward clearing.


Davy lamp

A Bunsen burner will burn on top and bottom of two copper screens a few inches apart. Show that a Bunsen burner flame will not strike through to the other side of fine copper wire gauze. Direct a stream on gas at a lit Davy safety lamp.


conduction and convection - Pirani

The basic principles of the Pirani vacuum gauge. Heat a platinum wire in a flask until it glows dull red, then evacuate the flask and the wire will glow more brightly at the same voltage.

4B60. Mechanical Equivalent of Heat


Demonstration Name




heating lead shot in a bag


A bag of lead shot is dropped several times and the temperature rise is measured. A diagram of a projection thermometer is given.


mechanical equivalent of heat

Flip a one meter tube containing lead shot ten times. A thermistor embedded in one end measures the temperature.


heating mercury by shaking

A nichrome - iron wire thermojunction is inserted into a bottle of mercury which is shaken vigorously. *Note: can do but not until safe method is found.


hammer on lead

Hit a 250 g lead block that has an embedded thermocouple with a heavy hammer and show the temperature rise. A simple air thermoscope is shown.


drop ball on thermocouples

A steel ball is dropped onto an anvil holding a set of thermocouples embedded in solder beads.


mechanical equivalent of heat

Crank a copper barrel that has copper webbing wrapped around it while under tension and measure the temperature rise of the water inside the barrel. The temperature of a copper barrel filled with water with a copper braid under tension wrapped around it is measured before and after cranking.


motorized mech. eq. of heat

Continuous flow apparatus with counter rotating turbines powered by an electric motor. See AJP 28(9),793


Searle's apparatus

Searle's apparatus is used to obtain a numerical value of Joule's equivalent. Picture.


mech eq of heat

Picture of an elaborate apparatus to measure the mechanical equivalent of heat. Derivation.


heating by bending

Pass around a No. 14 iron wire for the students to bend.


bow & stick

How to make a fire with a bow and stick.


drill and dowel

A motor shaft extended with a hardwood dowel is held against a wood block. Chuck up a dowel in an electric drill and make smoke by drilling the wood block.


flint and steel

Sparks from flint and steel or a grindstone show heat from work.


friction cannon

Pour ether, alcohol, or water into a tube topped with a cork, and spin by a motor until the frictional heat causes enough vapor pressure to blow the cork.


steam gun

Heat a tube until the cork pops off.

4B70. Adiabatic Processes


Demonstration Name




fire syringe

A piece of cotton in a glass tube will ignite when a plunger is used to quickly compress the air.


light a match head

Push down hard on a piston in a close fitting tube to light a match head at the bottom.


expansion cloud chamber


Pressurize a jug of saturated water vapor with and without smoke particles. Introduce smoke into a flask attached to a squeeze bulb through a pitchcock.


expansion cloud chamber

Put some smoke and alcohol in a stoppered flask and shake. When the stopper is released a fog forms.


adiabatic cooling

Pressurize a one gallon jar with a bicycle pump until the cork blows. Measure the temperature with a thermistor and computer.


adiabatic decompression

A laser beam is temporarily scattered when an air filled chamber is pumped down with a vacuum pump. See AJP 58(11),1112


adiabatic heating and cooling

An air cylinder moves a piston back and forth and a thermocouple measures the temperature.


adiabatic compression

A thermopile. is constructed and put in the bottom of a tube in which air is compressed by a plunger. Instructions.


expansion chamber

Directions for making a temperature detector to insert into a flask that will be warmed and cooled by compression and expansion.


measuring adiabatic compression

Temperatures of fixed amounts of gases undergoing adiabatic compression are measured. Diagram, Picture, construction hints.


adiabatic cycles

A thermocouple connected to a lecture galvanometer shows temperature cycles as air in a test tube is compressed and expanded.


Joule-Kelvin coefficients

A thermocouple measures the temperature change as N2 cools on expansion and H2 heats on expansion.

Table of Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics (4A): Thermal Properties of Matter

Thermodynamics (4C): Change of State

Lecture Demonstrations



fw: FirstLaw (last edited 2021-02-10 18:12:23 by srnarf)