You may also like

problem icon


Investigate the graphs of y = [1 + (x - t)^2][1 + (x + t^)2] as the parameter t varies.

problem icon

Sine Problem

In this 'mesh' of sine graphs, one of the graphs is the graph of the sine function. Find the equations of the other graphs to reproduce the pattern.

problem icon

Cocked Hat

Sketch the graphs for this implicitly defined family of functions.

Ideal Axes

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:


At constant temperature $T$, the gas law $PV=nRT$ is effectively an equation with two variables. Plotting different combinations of the variables $P$ and $V$ as the axes yields the three charts below. Can you deduce the likely variables and units for the axes in each case and the value for $nRT$? What is the likely physical interpretation of this value?

Explore the different possibilities for the shapes of graphs for the following equations by choosing different variables for the axes (you choose values for the constants)

Kinetic theory equations: Plot $PV = \frac{1}{3}mN\bar{c^2}$ for fixed $V$ and variable $P$, $\bar{c^2}$

van der Waals equations: Plot $(P+aV^{-2}_m)(V_m-b)=RT$ for fixed $T$ and variable $P$, $V_m$.

Can each be plotted in a form qualitatively similar to the three charts above? Can they be plotted to yield other forms distinct from the above?

You might wish to use a spreadsheet to allow you to make the various plots quickly, and you may wish to explore other formulas common to science.