Weber, Harold C. Formerly, Chemical Engineer, Boston, Massachusetts.
Steele, William A. Formerly, Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
- Additional Reading
For any system, that is, the volume of substance under discussion, enthalpy is the sum of the internal energy of the system plus the system's volume multiplied by the pressure exerted by the system on its surroundings. This may be expressed as U + PV = H, where U is the system's internal energy, P the pressure of the system, V the system's volume, and H the enthalpy of the system. The sum of U + PV is given the special symbol H primarily as a matter of convenience because this sum appears repeatedly in thermodynamic discussion. Consistent units must, of course, be used in expressing the terms in the above equation. Previously, enthalpy was referred to as total heat or heat content, but these terms are misleading and should be avoided. Enthalpy is, from the viewpoint of mathematics, a point function, as contrasted with heat and work, which are path functions. Point functions depend only on the initial and final states of the system undergoing a change; they are independent of the paths or character of the change. Mathematically, the differential of a point function is a complete or perfect differential. See also: Calculus; Mathematics; Maxwell's equations
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