Natural gas travels from wellhead to processing plant to gas utility to customer through a series of transmission and distribution pipelines. The gas is compressed to make it move through the pipes, which range in size from 42 inches out in the field to less than an inch in diameter in your home. To maintain that pressure, compressor stations are located every 50 to 100 miles along the approximately 300,000 miles of transmission pipeline in the United States.
The natural gas delivery system is based on the principle that a gas will flow from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Compressing a gas also reduces its volume, which enables distribution companies to store large amounts of natural gas for use during peak demand. In this activity you are going to investigate some of the effects of pressure on a gas.