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The Quest for Gamma

Faculty Supervisor:
Don Lemons
Year of Project Completion:
Amanda H. Regier


Adiabatic compressions occur when there is no heat exchange between the compressed gas, common known as the system, and the surrounding environment. This requires that the system be perfectly isolated from the environment or that the compression happen instantaneously. Both of these two requirements are impossible given human restrictions. However, near adiabatic conditions are acheievable. By running several of these compressions with various compression times on ideal gases, it is possible to extrapolate what the final pressure of an adiabatic experiment would be, and, consequently, establish the value of gamma, the ratio of specific heats, for the given gas. This paper's aim is to establish the type of curve best suited to fit the extrapolation curve, to find what parameters would be the best for Physics I and II students to use when doing the experiment, and to compare the results yielded for monatomic and diatomic gases.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.