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Finding absolute zero (optional lab exercise)


You should be able to perform this exercise in your kitchen using the equipment usually found there plus a small list of items you might need to buy - see the list of apparatus below. This exercise should take about an hour but it is recommended that you set up the manometer for Part B and leave it in your refrigerator overnight. Download the instruction PDF at the bottom of the page in order perform this lab exercise.


To demonstrate by experiment the behaviour of an ideal gas when subject to a temperature change and to estimate the value of absolute zero (in degrees Centigrade).


You may find the things you need lying round at home, the links below are suggestions if you do not have them to hand. You can also find similar items in many other shops and online sales sites.

You will need:

• a set of digital scales

• a small jug of water (or malt vinegar)

• a digital kitchen probe thermometer

• a U-tube manometer

• a refrigerator

• a 1ml syringe

• a small piece of putty (I used blu tac)

Health and safety risk assessment

All of the lab exercises in this course are optional. Lab exercises aim to apply the theory already covered, enabling a deeper understanding of the material. This lab exercise involves working with water. Below are the main risks associated with this lab exercise and measures to reduce these:

• Risk of water being split.

• Risk of slipping and falling on spilt water.

How did you do?

We would love to know your results, you can post them in the comments section below

Why not take photos of you carrying out your experiment and then post them to our media wall? You can also add a video to the media wall by uploading it to YouTube (or another social media site) and then cutting and pasting the embed code.

Remember to add your name and the experiment you are doing!

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This article is from the free online course:

Energy: Thermodynamics in Everyday Life

University of Liverpool