Abstract Archive Detail

AAPT Presentations 1

A Modified Boyle's Law Experiment to Estimate Salt Crystal Density


A presentation from the 2019 Summer Meeting: Provo, UT


A common experiment in a college physics class is to show the inverse relationship between pressure and volume predicted by Boyle’s law. Students connect a syringe to a pressure sensor and record the volume of the syringe and the pressure in the system. However, a systematic error exists if the volume between the syringe and the pressure sensor is ignored. We find that it is possible to calculate this headspace volume by fitting the pressure-volume data to a modified Boyle’s law equation. This modification allows us to find the volume of many different objects connected to a pressure sensor and syringe. Here we find the volume of salt crystals and thus accurately determine their density. Our experiments of five different salts show that this method has an average percent error of 1.29 percent, providing a simple and accurate way to estimate the density of salt crystals.


Joel D. Krehbiel

Kenton Schroeder
Harune Suzuki
Nelson Kilmer

Paper Type:

2019 Summer Meeting: Provo, UT

10:15 AM



Download Presentation