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PDM Ideal Gas: Instructor's Guide

Main Ideas

Students' Task

Estimated Time: 50 minutes

  • Have students take the PDM through a cycle (add  5 small weights one at a time to one side, then to the other, then take them off one at a time from the first side, then the other). Make sure to measure $F_L$, $F_R$, $dx_L$, and $dx_R$ every time a weight is added or removed. As students to calculate the change in energy of the system from the first law for each leg of the cycle.

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Familiarity with the Partial Derivative Machine (see PDM Variables Activity (w/ link))
  • The analogue for the first law of thermodynamics/thermodynamic identity on the PDM is $dU=F_Ldx_L+F_Rdx_R,$


Activity: Introduction

Activity: Student Conversations

Activity: Wrap-up


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