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First Law of Thermodynamics Example # 2
Suppose that we would like to determine how much work is done by a pump to isothermically and slowly compress three liters of an ideal diatomic gas at zero degrees Celsius and one atmospheric pressure to a volume of one liter. To determine the work, we must utilize the first law of thermodynamics, which states that the change in internal energy of our system is equal to the heat flow into the system minus the work done by the system on the surroundings. Since we are dealing with an isothermal process, the change in temperature is zero, which implies that the change in internal energy is also zero. This means that the heat flow into the system is equal to the work done by the pump on the system. If we integrate and use the ideal gas law to replace the pressure with volume, we can determine the equation that will allow us to determine the quantity of work done by the pump on the system. However, before we use the equation we must use the ideal gas law to determine the number of moles of gas inside our system.
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