Spring 2006                                                                                    Name______________________


                                        TEMPERATURE AND THERMOMETERS

Physical Science

Note that as the case of other experiments, there are several things to be filled out before coming to lab. Be sure to read entire lab before class.


Object: To make the thermometer and to calibrate it.  To familiarize yourself with the common temperature scales.  To study the thermal expansion of water.


            There are three kinds of temperature scales that are important. These are the Fahrenheit scale (TF), The Celsius (TC) and the Absolute Temperature (TK)(also called Kelvin scale). The Fahrenheit scale is the one most used in this country for everyday temperature measurement such as the weather or body temperature.  The Celsius and Absolute are used in science.  The absolute temperature scale beginning with zero at absolute zero, (460 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, and 273 below zero on the Celsius scale). Absolute zero in the temperature at which all (possible) thermal motion of molecules stops.


            TF= (9/5) TC + 32         TC = (5/9)(TF-32)         TK = TC + 273


1. Before you come to class, use your book (or the equations above) to fill in the table below. 

Celsius Temperature

Fahrenheit Temperature

Absolute Temperature



































What is the range of temperature  for which your thermometer will be calibrated  _______ to ________?


What is the maximum temperature you are to allow in the beaker outside your thermometer? ______


2. A thermometer consists of a fixed volume of liquid that expands up a cylindrical tube as the temperature increases. The temperature is determined by the height of the column. You are to build a thermometer by placing a long tube in a closed flask of water (be sure no bubbles are present). The flask will be placed in a beaker that is either cooled or heated.



IN LAB          

a) Fill the flask with water, and place the cork with the thermometer (to be used to calibrate your apparatus) in the flask.


Caution: Be careful not to break the thermometer and if any are broken, immediately inform the instructor as all the glass must be immediately and completely cleaned up.


            b) Place the beaker in a ring stand at a proper height from the table to enable a burner to be placed under the beaker.  The flask is placed in the beaker, the cork with the thermometer and tube is placed in the flask.


            c) A meter stick is placed along the glass tube and tied in two  places with string and clamped to the ring stand so that it will not tip and break the glass tube.


     d) Record the temperature of the water and its height at the beginning of the experiment..


Beginning temperature =_____________; height =________________          


            e) Use Ice to cool the water to 10°C, then ask the instructor to start the burner.


            f) Take readings every 10°C to a temperature of 70°C, recording them on the left side of the table below.


CAUTION: Do not let the temperature inside the flask pass 70°C nor the temperature in the outside flask to reach 80°C.


            g) When the temperature of the water surrounding the flasks reaches 80°C or the temperature of the water in the flasks reaches 70°C, turn off the gas and call the instructor.  He will help you move the flasks to the table.

            h) Add room temperature water to the beaker and record the temperature and height in the right side of the table until you reach a temperature of 50°C.

            i) Dump the water from the beaker and fill the beaker with ice, adding water till the level reaches the top of the water in the flask.  Record your readings to 10°C.



Ascending height

Descending height

Average height
































j) Calculate the average height at each temperature and make half size scale drawing of your thermometer in the side of your lab sheet, marking every 10°.  To begin, make a line down the side of the page and place tick marks on it every 0.5 cm.  The instructor will assist you.  Mark and label your heights and temperatures.


k)  Explain in as much detail as you can, what happens to the volume of the water as it is heated.  Does it always increase the same amount for every ten degree rise in temperature?











l) What does the motion of the molecules of the water have to do with their expansion?














Why do you think thermometers filled with water like the one you made are not normally used?











Do you have any questions that you would like answered about this experiment?