Bloomfield, Philip E. Department of Physics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; City College, City University of New York, New York, New York
Steele, William A. Formerly, Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
- A system and its boundaries
- State of a system
- Process path
- Pressure-volume-temperature diagram
- Work of a process
- Temperature-entropy diagram
- Reversible processes
- Irreversible processes
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Changes of any property of an aggregation of matter and energy, accompanied by thermal effects. The participants in a process are first identified as a system to be studied; the boundaries of the system are established; the initial state of the system is determined; the path of the changing states is laid out; and, finally, supplementary data are stated to establish the thermodynamic process. These steps will be explained in the following paragraphs. At all times it must be remembered that the only processes which are allowed are those compatible with the first and second laws of thermodynamics: Energy is neither created nor destroyed and the entropy of the system plus its surroundings always increases.
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