Effect of Temperature on the Volume of Various Gases

Researched by Bree 


The purpose of this experiment was to compare the amount of heat expansion in various gases. 

I became interested in this idea when taking my balloon out from inside the house during winter and watching it shrink really fast and then popping when it hit the snow. 

The information gained from this experiment will determine what temperature you need to keep your balloons at so that it can have more volume. The information will tell others how much of the gas is needed in a balloon so it won't pop or it won't shrink as fast. It will also determine what type of gas is the best in a balloon when heated. 
Top of page


My hypothesis is that helium at 60* C (140* F) or lower will have more volume than any of the other gases at the same temperature or lower.

I base my hypothesis on the book I read, A Guide to the Elements, which said that helium is the safest and most used gas for lifting and heating balloons. 
Top of page


The constants in this study were: 
* Same type of balloon 
* Same method of measurement 
* Same amount of space for balloon to expand in 
* Same amount of time for the balloon to expand or shrink 
* Same type of water temperature 
* Same amount of water 
* Same size the balloon is with the gas in it

The manipulated variables are the temperature of each gas. 

The responding variable was the volume each gas filled balloon had. 

To measure the responding variable I will use a graduated cylinder to measure the water that is displaced by the balloons when immersed in a tank. 
Top of page


1 "5 gallon" buket (plastic)
1 12lb. Test monofilament fishing line
1 100 ml graduated cylinder
1 2000 ml beaker
1 thermometer (Celsius)
10  "9 inch" Mylar balloons
1 cap (silly putty)
1   S-hook (1/2inch, metal)
1 tube of silicone
1 3/8 inch pipe 
3 eye bolt
1 15 cm piece of 3/8 tubing (plastic)
Top of page


1. Take 10 Mylar balloons to Oxica Inc and have them fill two balloons with nitrogen labeling them N-1 and N-2, two balloons with carbon dioxide, labeling them C-1 and C-2, two balloons with argon, labeling them A-1 and A-2, two balloons with helium, labeling them H-1 and H-2 and two balloons with oxygen labeling them O-1 and O-2.

2. Thread the fishing line through all three of the eyebolts that have been attached to the inside of the bucket.

3. Insert a pipe in to one side of the bucket 3 inches from the top.

4. Fill the bucket full of 1* C water to just below the opening of the pipe.

5. Attach plastic tubing to the outside opening of the pipe.

6. Hook the S hook to a balloon that is filled with argon 1.

7. Set a timer for 5 minutes so that the gas will get to the full temperature.

8. Immediately, submerge the balloon submerged underwater with the tube plugged with a cap.

9. After five minutes unplug the cap and let the water poor out into the beaker while still holding the balloon under water.

10. Measure the water with a graduated cylinder by taking the 2000-Ml beaker and very slowly pour the water into the 100ml-graduated cylinder at a time and then record the data.

11. One at a time, repeat steps 4-9 using the remaining nine balloons.

12. Repeat experiment three times using the following temperatures 20° C, 40°C, and 60°C. 
Top of page


The original purpose of this experiment was to compare the amount of heat expansion in various different gases.

The results of the experiment were that as the temperature of any gas was increased the volume would also increase. 

The gas volume change per degree of temperature change from1°C to 58° C. for Oxygen was 5.5 ml.  Nitrogen had a 3.4 ml change per degree. Argon had a 3.2 ml change per degree. Helium had a 2.9 ml. change per degree. Carbon dioxide had a 2.7 ml change per degree. 

 Oxygen had an overall percentage volume change of 36.5%. Nitrogen changed 21.8 %. Argon had a 20.5% change. Helium had a 16.4% change. Carbon dioxide changed 15.3%.

Top of page


My hypothesis was that helium at 60 degrees C would have the most volume than any of the other gases at any other temperature or lower.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if I added something to the water like salt at 60 degrees C.  Would it make a difference?

If I were to conduct this project again I would use a 4 inch Mylar balloon instead of a 9 inch Mylar balloon because the balloon would have been submerged more under water and it wouldn’t be as hard to get the balloon to a certain temperature. I would have also gotten more balloons for each of my trials.
Top of page





Heat is a very important energy to the earth. We depend on heat to keep us warm, to cook our food, and for machinery that we use. We wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t any heat. Gas is also a very important type of energy. All different types of gases are in the air we breathe such as nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, helium, and many more.


Carbon dioxide
 The element carbon and oxygen combined equals carbon dioxide. There has to be two atoms of carbon and one atom of oxygen to get carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It also is non- flammable. Carbon Dioxide is used in many beverages to make them sparkle. Dry ice is actually the solid of Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is used in baking powder and yeast to make bread rise. It is 1% of the earth’s volume in dry air. If you breathe in a large amount of Carbon dioxide there is a possibility you might be lethal.

In the periodic table Nitrogen looks as N7. The atomic number is seven. Nitrogen weighs about 14.0067. The volume is 17.3 cm 3/mol. The group nitrogen is in the non-metal group. Nitrogen’s melting point is 63.34 K. It’s boiling point is 77.4 K. Nitrogen will eventually evaporate at 2.7928 Kj/ mol. Nitrogen is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It can’t go into flame. Nitrogen will not react with air, other gases, or even water. It is found in air and is 1.3 log of the earth’s crust. Nitrogen is 6.496 log of the solar system.

You will find oxygen in the periodic table as O8. The symbol is O and the atomic number is 8. Oxygen weighs 1 5.9994. The volume of is 14.0 cm3/ mol. Oxygen was discovered in 1774. It is in the non-metal group and Chakgen group. The melting point is 54.8 K and the boiling point is 90.2 K. The heat of vaporization is 3.4099 Kj/ mol. Oxygen is colorless and is non flammable. It is used in rocket fuel, air, and it comes from trees, grass, and plants. Oxygen will not react with air, other gases, and plants. It is 5.7 log of the earth’s crust and is 7.377 of the solar system.

 You will find helium as He2. The atomic number is 2 and the symbol is He. Helium weighs 4.00260. It was discovered in 1895. Helium is in the noble gas group. It’s boiling point is4 K. It will eventually evaporate at 0.0845 Kj/mol. It is colorless, tasteless, odorless, and will not go into flame. It has intensity to make your voice in a high pitch sound if you inhale enough. Helium will not react with air, other gases and water. It is found in natural gases and air. It is 2.1 log of the earth’s crust and is 9.435 of the solar system.

In the periodic table argon’s symbol is Ar and the atomic number is 18. It weighs 39.948. The volume is 28.5 cm3/mol. It was discovered in 1894. Argon’s boiling point is 87.3 K and it’s melting point is 84. It will eventually evaporate at 6.447 Kj/mol. It is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It also will not go into flame. It will not react with air, other gases, and water. It is 0.5 log of the earth’s crust and is 5.004 of the solar system.

Kinetic Energy 

 Kinetic energy is when molecules are moving. Heat will increase the movement of the molecules witch bounce off of each other to make a larger area. Chares’ law states that the volume of gas increases when it’s temperature is increased, only if the pressure remains the same. If the pressure is decreased it will shrink the movement slower or to no movement at all.


 Heat is energy transferred between objects because of a different temperature. It is one of the most important forms of energy that we have on earth. Heat is used in many ways. We use it in our homes to cook out food, and to heat up a home with a heater. Others use heat to separate metal are hooking together metal. There are six main source of heat. They are (1) the sun, (2) the earth, (3) chemical reactions, (4) nuclear energy, (5) friction, and (6) electricity.

The sun
 The sun is one of our most important sources or heat. Only a tiny fraction of heat is hit on earth. The sun’s heat is absorbed by seas, the ground, plants, and the atmosphere around us. The sun’s heat takes eight minutes to get to earth. The light of the sun is the color of the heat that can be seen. 

The earth
 The earth has a lot of heat deep down inside the crust. The only way heat can escape from earth is by volcanoes and other eruptions at the bottom of the earth. Every time a volcano erupts the earth is letting out a very tiny bit of heat. When there is an eruption at the bottom of the sea the earth is letting out heat but it goes into the water and actually heats up the water. People have been using the earth’s heat for electricity, heaters, and other machinery.

Chemical reactions
 Chemical reactions are able to produce off heat in many ways. Coal, oil, or gas fires heat in furnaces and boilers heat buildings. The mixing of certain kinds of chemical also produce off heat. For example, if sulfuric acid and water are mixed together the mixture will become boiling hot.

Nuclear energy
 Nuclear energy can produce great quantities of heat. Some nuclear weapons release too much heat at one time that it destroys most everything around them. Nuclear energy is very important for someone’s safety. Some small weapons contain a very small fraction of nuclear energy. 

 Rubbing an object on another object can produce friction.  Oil is put in machinery to reduce the amount of friction and so decreases the generation of heat.  Oil will help the two objects from rubbing and producing friction to just slide across the other object.

Electricity flows through metal, and alloys (that carry electricity) generates heat. Humans make use of heat in appliances like oven, dryers, washers, and heaters. Electricity is very important to us and if there weren’t for electricity we would still be taking a candle everywhere and taking chalk to write with.

Heat and energy can not be seen but the work they do is in our ovens and other appliances.  Heat and energy make gases expand and provide power to work.  The temperature of an object determines if it is going to loose energy or loose some when it comes in contact with another object.  The atoms and molecules will stop until there is heat to be given to them to move again.


 Thermodynamics has two laws.  The first law states that energy is a system that can not be created or destroyed. Instead if you have a swimming pool and you say it got colder. That wouldn’t be true. It could only get less warm. Law number two states that the warmth from the swimming pool is going to a place that is less warmer to make it warmer. Heat moves in one direction. If something is cold and it is put into a pot of boiling water all of the heat is going to go into what you put in there that is frozen. 


 Heat is very important in all of the six different ways. We use the sun to keep us warm at night and during the day. Our earth has heat to keep it going. We use nuclear energy every day for safety. Chemical reactions find new ways to live. Friction we use everyday by putting oil against and object so not as much friction is given off at one time. Electricity we use everyday at school, home, and at work. We would still be holding candles in our hand if it weren’t for electricity.  Gases are also a very important part of the earth. We breathe in several different gases at one time. Some machinery depends on gases to work. There are all sorts of different gases. Some are made in laboratories and some are found in certain places in the world.
Top of page


Benford, Gregory. "Energy," The WorldBook Encyclopedia. 1995. Vol. 6. Pp. 274

Heimler, Charles H. and Price, Jack Physical Science. Ohio: Merrill, 1981. Pg. 74, 433

Hsu, David D. "Elements Table." [Online] Available http://www.chemicool.com/, 1996

Laudon, Robert C. "Gas," The World Book Encyclopedia. 1995. Vol.8. Pp.48-58

Periodic Table, [Online] Available http://www.ask.com/1994.

Stwertka, Albert. A Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford, 1996. Pg. 16-26
Top of page


Top of page

Menu of 1999-2000 Science Projects

Back to the Selah Homepage