Boyle's law

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Boyle's law (sometimes referred to as the Boyle-Mariotte law) is one of many gas laws and a special case of the ideal gas law. Boyle's law describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system.[1][2] The law was named after chemist and physicist Robert Boyle, who published the original law in 1662.[3] The law itself can be stated as follows:

For a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, P [pressure] and V [volume] are inversely proportional (while one doubles, the other halves).[2]



This relationship between pressure and volume was first noted by two amateur scientists, Richard Towneley and Henry Power. Boyle confirmed their discovery through experiments and published the results. According to Robert Gunther and other authorities, it was Boyle's assistant, Robert Hooke, who built the experimental apparatus. Boyle's law is based on experiments with air, which he considered to be a fluid of particles at rest in between small invisible springs. At that time, air was still seen as one of the four elements, but Boyle disagreed. Boyle's interest was probably to understand air as an essential element of life;[4] he published e.g. the growth of plants without air.[5] The French physicist Edme Mariotte (1620–1684) discovered the same law independently of Boyle in 1676, but Boyle had already published it in 1662. Thus this law may, improperly, be referred to as Mariotte's or the Boyle-Mariotte law. Later, in 1687 in the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Newton showed mathematically that if an elastic fluid consisting of particles at rest, between which are repulsive forces inversely proportional to their distance, the density would be directly proportional to the pressure,[6] but this mathematical treatise is not the physical explanation for the observed relationship. Instead of a static theory a kinetic theory is needed, which was provided two centuries later by Maxwell and Boltzmann.

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