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Charles's Law.

Amontons had discovered the relationship between the volume of gas and its temperature (see 1699). For some reason, the discovery was neglected. Charles (see 1783) rediscovered the relationship in 1787, however, and the French chemist Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) again rediscovered it five years later. The relationship is sometimes called Charles's law and sometimes, Gay-Lussac's law. Amontons remains forgotten.

The amount by which a gas shrank as the temperature decreased by 1 degree Celsius was 1/273 of its volume at 0 degrees. If the law held for all temperatures, a gas must shrink to zero volume at -273[degrees]C, which would be an absolute zero. This would be true, however, only if gases remained gases as the temperature decreased, and whether this was so or not was not known.

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Author:Asimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Words:130
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