Understand adiabatic compression and the ideal gas law


During their descent from space, the astronauts' capsule encounters extreme temperatures due to adiabatic compression. This lesson introduces students to this phenomenon with a fire syringe demonstration. Then, they work with commercial sensors to investigate the ideal gas law. Finally, they use their findings to inform discussions about the required criteria for heat shield design.

Materials developed in partnership with the NASA STEM on Station team.

Teacher resources