4D30.38 - Kinetic Theory of Gases Demos - Ping Pong Balls

See paragraph one in the procedure section.
Code Number:
Demo Title:
Kinetic Theory of Gases Demos - Ping Pong Balls
Kinetic Theory of Gases
Area of Study:
Heat & Fluids
Mechanical model of kinetic theory, Variac.

After each use the unit will have to be emptied and the cracked and broken balls replaced. Experimentation will help determine the optimum number of balls needed. Oil or grease the tightener pulley from time to time. The Variac may be turned all the way on without fear of harming the motor.

  • Michael M. Hull, Manuel Becker, Florian Budimaier, Haruki Abe, Haruhiko Funahashi, "Uses of the HEC BB Bag in Physics Instruction", TPT, Vol. 61, #1, Jan. 2023, p. 26.
  • M. Branca, I. Soletta, "A Physical Model to Help Explain Evaporation", TPT, Vol. 52, # 4, April 2014, p. 226.
  • Jeffrey J. Prentis, William M. Yuhasz, "Motorized Molecules: From Molecular Chaos to Thermal Order", TPT, Vol. 39, # 4, April 2001, p. 242. 
  • Se-yuen Mak and Derek Cheung, "A Dynamic Styrofoam-Ball Model for Simulating Molecular Motion", TPT, Vol. 39, #1, Jan. 2001, p. 48.
  • "Figuring Physics", TPT, Vol. 26, # 7, Oct. 1988, p. 474.
  • Henry M. Finucan, "Kinetic Theory Paradox", AJP, Vol. 45, # 2, Feb. 1977, p. 193.
  • Julien Clinton Sprott, Physics Demonstrations,  "2.15, Kinetic Theory Simulator",  p. 104, ISBN 0-299-21580-6.
  • Ron Hipschman, "Brownian Motion Model", Exploratorium Cookbook II, p. 127.1 - 127.4.
  • The Exploratorium, Science Snackbook, "Gas  Model", p. 53-1
  • Curt Suplee, "Pressure and gases", Everyday Science Explained, National Geographic, p. 44.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.