A Caltech Library Service

Construction of Thermodynamic Models for Elementary Teaching

DuMond, Jesse W. M. (1941) Construction of Thermodynamic Models for Elementary Teaching. American Journal of Physics, 9 (4). pp. 234-237. ISSN 0002-9505. doi:10.1119/1.1991687.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The author has found great value in the use of solid models in freshman physics teaching to illustrate (1) the law of ideal gases, and (2) the van der Waals equation of state and the behaviors of vapors and liquids. Many freshman students have difficulty in visualizing the shape of the thermodynamic surfaces from, let us say, a blackboard sketch of a set of isotherms, and the better part of a precious lecture hour may be consumed in explaining, with many words, what would be almost obvious if one had a solid model in his hands. The author has found that more than half of a class of average intelligence, having learned that an ideal gas is described by the equation PV=NRT, will be sorely puzzled by the adiabatic equation for ideal gases, PVγ=const. It helps these puzzled students surprisingly little to be told that, since the first equation contains three variables, it is not inconsistent with the second. With many of them, however, the matter becomes clear when they are shown an ideal gas surface on which have been plotted isotherms, adiabatics, and so forth.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1941 American Association of Physics Teachers.
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140624-125116421
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Construction of Thermodynamic Models for Elementary Teaching DuMond, Jesse W. M., American Journal of Physics, 9, 234-237 (1941), DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46472
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Jun 2014 20:10
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:26

Repository Staff Only: item control page