# Chemistry: Charles's Law: The Incredible Imploding Can

## Charles's Law: The Incredible Imploding Can

Let's do another demonstration. You'll need a brand new, never used, metal can with a screw-on cap. Remove the cap, place the can on the stove, and turn it to "high." After the can has been heated for about two minutes, take it off the stove with metal salad tongs and tightly screw on the cap.

Because I know that none of you actually did the demonstration (shame on you!), I'll just tell you what you would have seen—over a period of two or three minutes, the can would shrink until the sides caved in.

Way back in 1787, the French scientist Jacques Charles did exactly the same experiment while sitting around the house on a rainy day. (Editor's note: Historians believe that only the year in the preceding statement is correct.) When he observed the can imploding, he devised the following law to explain his findings:

• V1T1 = V2T2

V1 is the initial volume of the can, T1 is the initial temperature of the air in Kelvin, V2 is the final volume of the can, and T2 is the final temperature of the air (in Kelvin). We will assume that the pressure and number of moles of the air are constant. If the can has an initial volume of 5.00 liters, the temperature of the air before you took the can off of the stove was 250º C (523 K), and the temperature of the air after the can cooled was 25º C (298 K), we can use this equation to find the final volume of the can: