Thursday, December 08, 2011

Physics simulations: ideal gas

I'm thinking of shifting my focus more towards educational issues, with a focus on how education shapes power relationships in our society. I figure that part of the "libertarian agenda" in education consists of empowering people to control their own education, so that they aren't forced to participate in any hierarchical/oppressive institutions.

As such, building awareness of new educational tools is key. In that spirit, I recommend PhET, which produces simulations to help instill an intuitive understanding of scientific concepts. The most recent simulation is pretty good... a simulation of transitions between states of matter, and also seems to demonstrate some aspects of the ideal gas law (i.e. PV=nRT). The only problem I noticed is that when the user increases the volume, thereby decompressing the substance, the temperature does not drop... or maybe it's been too long since I studied thermodynamics.

Anyway, check it out:

States of Matter: Basics
Click to Run

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