# Units, plotting and empty plots

maybe I'm completely newbie but I can't understand the behavior of units and the command plot.

I'm doing some easy plotting of the state equation for gasses:

R =  Quantity[0.0831, ("Bars" "Liters")/("Kelvins" "Moles")];
a =  Quantity[3.658, ("Liters")^2]* Quantity[1, ("Bars")/("Moles")^2]
b = Quantity[0.0429, ("Liters")/("Moles")]
PVW[V_, T_, N_] := ((N*R*T)/(V - N*b)) - (+a*(N^2/V^2));


I then test that units are ok:

test = PVW[Quantity[0.6, "Liters"], Quantity[270, "Kelvins"], Quantity[1, "Moles"]];
UnitSimplify[test]


And I get my pressure back :

Quantity[30.1135, "Bars"]


Now I want my plot so I do :

Plot[PVW[V, Quantity[330, "Kelvins"], Quantity[1, "Moles"] ], {V,
Quantity[0.06, "Liters"] , Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]},
Frame -> True,
GridLines -> None,
LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15},
FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}]


If I evaluate that I get no errors, no nothing but a empty plot:

What is going on?

• Jun 26, 2013 at 14:12
• -ish. (I tried that) He has an error when he plots in one way I don't (apparently, I don't know if there is an hidden trace somewhere), if I try the same solution suggested I still get the blank plot. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:24
• In fact, I get an error when I attempt to evaluate your code as is. "Plot::pllim: "Range specification {0.06,0.6} is not of the form {x, xmin, xmax}. " " - Meaning that you need {V,Quantity[0.06, "Liters"], Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]}, but this doesn't improve things greatly. Unfortunately, I'm completely unfamiliar with Quantity[]. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:41
• Well, you've got at least one syntax error (but it doesn't solve the problem): you need {V,Quantity[0.06, "Liters"], Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]} as your plot limits, and you probably also don't want the curly braces around PVW call. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:49
• Yes there was a copy paste error in the code, I edited the code. Jun 26, 2013 at 15:53

Still working out the why, but wrapping an Evaluate[] around your function seems to solve the problem:

Plot[
Evaluate[
PVW[V, Quantity[330, "Kelvins"], Quantity[1, "Moles"]
]
],
{V,Quantity[0.06, "Liters"],Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]},
Frame -> True,
GridLines -> None,
LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15},
FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}]


Edit:

This behaviour is discussed by Nasser in this related question.

Edit 2:

As mentioned in your comment, this problem is a little bit stranger than I'd realized. If anybody has insight as to why the following three examples return different results, feel free to chime in.

1. As above, with Evaluate[] around the PVW[] call, and units passed via the plot range specification.

2. Still using Evaluate[], but with the PlotRange[] being just numbers, and V being passed through a Quantity[] function:

Remove["Global*"];
R = Quantity[0.0831, ("Bars" "Liters")/("Kelvins" "Moles")];
a = Quantity[3.658, ("Liters")^2]*Quantity[1, ("Bars")/("Moles")^2];
b = Quantity[0.0429, ("Liters")/("Moles")];
PVW[V_, T_, N_] := ((N*R*T)/(V - N*b)) - (a*(N^2/V^2));
Plot[Evaluate[
PVW[Quantity[V, "Liter"], Quantity[330, "Kelvins"],
Quantity[1, "Moles"]]], {V, 0.06, 0.6}, Frame -> True,
GridLines -> None,
LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15},
FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}]


3. Using numbers without units:

Remove["Global*"];
R = 0.0831;
a = 3.658;
b = 0.0429;
PVW[V_, T_, N_] := ((N*R*T)/(V - N*b)) - (a*(N^2/V^2));
Plot[PVW[V, 330, 1], {V, 0.06, 0.6}, Frame -> True, GridLines -> None,
LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15},
FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}]


• It works, but it seems that If now change say the tempeature inside the evaluate PVW call it doesn't change the plot Jun 26, 2013 at 15:57
• Works for me: Show[Plot[ Evaluate[ PVW[V, Quantity[#, "Kelvins"], Quantity[1, "Moles"]]], {V, Quantity[0.06, "Liters"], Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]}, Frame -> True, GridLines -> None, LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15}, FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}] & /@ Range[50, 350, 50], PlotRange -> {{0.06, 0.6}, {0, 40000}}] Jun 26, 2013 at 16:02
• Yes, you are absolutely correct it works. But, I honestly didn't expect that output :D If i drop the units, I get the expected behavior! link EDIT:with the same paramters Temperature going from 250 to 350 in step of 10 Jun 26, 2013 at 16:10
• Hmm. That's really odd. I can reproduce that here, too. Jun 26, 2013 at 16:34
• Didn't realize Quantity[] would convert units. Replacing "Bars" with "Pascals" makes my second two examples agree. I'm still not sure why the first one is different. I can't find any examples of passing Quantity[] values using the plot range. Jun 26, 2013 at 18:46

You need Evaluate to release the HoldAll (as mentioned here):

Plot[Evaluate@PVW[V, Quantity[330, "Kelvins"], Quantity[1, "Moles"]],
{V, Quantity[0.06, "Liters"], Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]},
Frame -> True, GridLines -> None,
LabelStyle -> {FontFamily -> "Helvetica", FontSize -> 15},
FrameLabel -> {"Volume", "Pressure"}]


You also had a couple of typos (in an earlier version than current): you need {V,Quantity[0.06, "Liters"], Quantity[0.6, "Liters"]} as your plot limits, and you probably also don't want the curly braces around the PVW call.