Category Archives: Thermal Properties of Matter

Liquid Nitrogen Demo

Demo: TH-A-LN
Pira Index: 4A 40.30

 Lab Equipment  Directions
  1. dewar with liquid nitrogen
  2. 6 balloons
  3. 10″ tygon tubing
  4. hammer
  5. lead bell
  6. superconductor set
  7. tongs
 Hold each item in liquid nitrogen, then use tongs (if needed) to retrieve the item:

  1. Balloon: Inflate to a diameter slightly larger than the dewar. Set it on top of the dewar and as it cools, push it into the liquid. Retrieve and set it on the table so it can be observed as it warms.
  2. Tygon tubing: Hold one end in the liquid for a minute. Upon removal, hit it with a hammer.
  3. Bell: see TH-A-LB
  4. Superconductor: see EM-G-SC

Rubber Band Contraction

Demo: TH-A-RC
Pira Index: 4A 30.80

 Lab Equipment  Directions
  1.  lab stand
  2. 3 finger clamp
  3. triple beam platform balance
  4. 1000g hooked mass
  5. rubber band (3.5″ x .25″, #64)
  6. heat lamp with socket and clamp
  7. circuit cooler spray can
  8. extension cord
  1.  Set up as shown. Position the 3-finger clamp so that the rubber band tension lets the scale balance at zero.
  2. Plug in the heat lamp and shine it on the rubber band. As the rubber band heats up and contracts, the balance will swing downward.
If you wish to show the opposite effect, you can spray the rubber band with the circuit cooler.

Demo Thermostat

Demo: TH-A-DT
Pira Index: 4A 30.11

Lab Equipment  Directions
  1. demo thermostat apparatus
  2. 4 batteries (total 6V) in holder
  3. candle
  4. matches or lighter
  5. tray
  6. torch
  1.  Put the entire set-up on a tray to catch the candle wax. Connect as shown and the light should come on.
  2. Hold the candle to the bimetallic strip.
  3. As the strip warms up, it bends, breaking contact and the light goes off. As the strip cools, it straightens, remaking the contact and the light comes on.

The light represents the furnace in your house.

Tyndall’s Apparatus

Demo: TH-A-TA
Pira Index: 4A 30.30

 Lab Equipment  Directions
  1.  Tyndall’s apparatus
  2. cast iron rod
  3. piezoelectric lighter or striker
  1.  Insert the cast iron rod through the hole at the left end of the large bar as shown.
  2. Tighten wing nut “A”.
  3. Tighten wing nut “B”.
  4. Hook the hose to the gas outlet and light the gas line that runs along the base of the apparatus.
  5. As the bar expands, the cast iron rod will break.



Rubber Band on Lips

Demo: TH-A-RB
Pira Index:  4A 30.80

 Lab Equipment  Directions
  1.  rubber bands (enough for class)
  1.  Pass out rubber bands. Ask students to stretch the band while holding it just above the upper lip. Still holding it against the skin, release the stretch. Repeat several times, noticing temperature difference in the two conditions.


Linear Expansion Apparatus

Demo: TH-A-LE
Pira Index: 4A 30.30

 Lab Equipment  Directions
  1.  wood block
  2. arrow indicator
  3. short rod
  4. 2 telescope clamps
  5. long (6ft) aluminum rod
  6. torch 
Check for gas availability. Must be set up on lab table – not on a cart. 
  1.  Telescope clamps should be attached to short rod so that when lower clamp is attached to the table, the top clamp is in line with top of black box.
  2. Place arrow across block.
  3. Place rod lengthwise on block (across top of axle) and secure in upper clamp.
  4. Place bunsen burner near rod center.
  5. Heat rod evenly across the center area. (Arrow will rotate).