Heat Engine/Gas Law Apparatus

Product Code: TD-8572A


The Heat Engine and Gas Law Apparatus enables students to perform quantitative Ideal Gas Law experiments, while exploring a functional heat engine. A Rotary Motion Sensor and Pressure Sensor can be added to graph heat engine cycles, determine actual efficiency, and more!


  • Air chamber can be immersed in hot or cold water
  • Two ports for connecting the air chamber tubing or a Low Pressure Sensor
  • Ultra-low friction graphite piston
  • Millimeter scale measures piston displacement
  • Locking screw secures piston for fixed volumes
  • Precision-bore Pyrex cylinder with protective plastic shield
  • Two port shut-off valves
  • Rod clamp for mounting to rods or stands


  • Pascal’s Principle
  • Heat Engine Cycles
  • Charles’ Law Experiment
  • Combined Gas Law Experiment (Gay-Lussac’s)
  • The Mass Lifting Heat Engine Experiment
  • Add a mass to the platform for work experiments

How It Works

Heat Engine Cycle:

  1. When the air chamber is moved from the cold water bath to the hot bath, the piston rises, lifting the 200 g mass to demonstrate work. The mass is removed, and the air chamber is returned to the cold bath, closing the isobaric/isothermal cycle.
  2. The heat engine cycle is plotted in real time using a Pressure vs. Volume graph.
  3. Pressure in the cylinder is measured by a pressure sensor. Volume is measured by tracking the piston’s position with a rotary motion or motion sensor. Temperatures of the hot and cold baths are recorded using temperature sensors.
  4. Students compare the area inside the P-V cycle to the actual work done while lifting the weight to determine how the efficiency of their heat engine compares to the theoretical maximum.

What’s Included

  • 1x Heat Engine
  • 1x Air Chamber
  • 1x Rubber Stopper with hole
  • 1x Tubing with Quick-Connect Fittings
  • 1x Shut-Off Valve
  • 1x 200 g Mass

Software Required

This product requires PASCO software for data collection and analysis. We recommend the following option(s). For more information on which is right for your classroom, see our Software Comparison: SPARKvue vs. Capstone »

Interface Required

This product requires a PASCO Interface to connect to your computer or device. We recommend the following option(s). For a breakdown of features, capabilities, and additional options, see our Interface Comparison Guide »

850 Universal Interface

Replacement Parts

Heat Engine Accessory TD-8581A

Product Specifications

Piston diameter 32.5 mm
Maximum piston displacement ≈10 cm

Support Documents