Navigate to course home page

Rubber Band Lab

Keywords: Integrated Laboratory, Energy and Entropy, Entropy, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This integrated laboratory activity is designed to help students appreciate how Maxwell relations can be applied.
  2. Students measure the tension in a rubber band as a function of both temperature and length.
  3. In the lab write-up, students analyze their data using a Maxwell relation, the First Law, and the definition of work to find the change in internal energy, entropy and free energy for an isothermal stretch.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

This lab provides an introduction to the process of making macroscopic measurements, with following analysis demonstrating some of the power of thermodynamics. It also demonstrates the negative thermal expansiveness of rubber, which is the principle prediction of the “entropic spring” statistical model.


Instructor's Guide

Student Handouts



Authors: David Roundy, Michael Bodhi Rogers
To edit this page, go here

Personal Tools