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Statistical Physics and ThermodynamicsAn Introduction to Key Concepts$
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Jochen Rau

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199595068.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Processes and Responses

Processes and Responses

(p.145) 7 Processes and Responses
Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

Jochen Rau

Oxford University Press

Thermodynamic processes involve energy exchanges in the forms of work, heat, or particles. Such exchanges might be reversible or irreversible, and they might be controlled by barriers or reservoirs. A cyclic process takes a system through several states and eventually back to its initial state; it may convert heat into work (engine) or vice versa (heat pump). This chapter defines work and heat mathematically and investigates their respective properties, in particular their impact on entropy. It discusses the roles of barriers and reservoirs and introduces cyclic processes. Basic constraints imposed by the laws of thermodynamics are considered, in particular on the efficiency of a heat engine. The chapter also introduces the thermodynamic potentials: free energy, enthalpy, free enthalpy, and grand potential. These are used to describe energy exchanges and equilibrium in the presence of reservoirs. Finally, this chapter considers thermodynamic coefficients which characterize the response of a system to heating, compression, and other external actions.

Keywords:   thermodynamic process, work, heat, barrier, reservoir, cycle, heat engine, heat pump, thermodynamic potentials, thermodynamic coefficients

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