You are on page 1of 2

# 8/9/2014 Thermodynamic process path - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamic_process_path 1/2
Figure 1
Figure 2
figure 3
Thermodynamic process path
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A thermodynamic process path is the path or series of states through which a system passes from an initial
equilibrium state to a final equilibrium state

and can be viewed graphically on a pressure-volume (P-V), pressure-
temperature (P-T), and temperature-entropy (T-s) diagrams.

There are an infinite number of possible paths from an initial point to an
end point in a process. In many cases the path matters, however,
changes in the thermodynamic properties depend only on the initial and
final states and not upon the path.

Consider a gas in cylinder with a free floating piston resting on top of a
volume of gas (v1) at a temperature (T1). If the gas is heated so that the
temperature of the gas goes up to (T2) while the piston is allowed to rise
to (V2) as in Figure 1, then the pressure is kept the same in this process
due to the free floating piston being allowed to rise making the process an
isobaric process or constant pressure process. This Process Path is a
straight horizontal line from state one to state two on a P-V diagram.
It is often valuable to calculate the work done in a process. The work
done in a process is the area beneath the process path on a P-V
diagram. Figure 2 If the process is isobaric, then the work done on the
piston is easily calculated. For example, if the gas expands slowly against
the piston, the work done by the gas to raise the piston is the force F
times the distance d. But the force is just the pressure P of the gas times
the area A of the piston, F=PA.

Thus
W=Fd
W=PAd
W=P(V2-V1)
Now lets say that the piston was not able to move smoothly within the
cylinder due to static friction with the walls of the cylinder. Assuming that
the temperature was increased slowly, you would find that the process
path is not straight and no longer isobaric, but would instead undergo an
isometric process till the force exceeded that of the frictional force and
then would undergo an isothermal process back to an equilibrium state.
This process would be repeated till the end state is reached. See figure
3. The work done on the piston in this case would be different due to the
additional work required for the resistance of the friction. The work done
due to friction would be the difference between the work done on these
two process paths.
8/9/2014 Thermodynamic process path - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamic_process_path 2/2
Many engineers neglect friction at first in order to generate a simplified model.

For more accurate information, the
height of the highest point, or the max pressure, to surpass the static friction would be proportional to the frictional
coefficient and the slop going back down to the normal pressure would be the same as an isothermal process if the
temperature was increased at a slow enough rate.

Another path in this process is an isometric process. This is a process where volume is held constant which shows
as a vertical line on a P-V diagram. Figure 3 Since the piston is not moving during this process, there is not any
work being done.

References
1. ^ Thermodynamics (Third Edition), Kenneth Wark, McGraw-Hill Inc, 1977, ISBN 0-07-068280-1
2. ^ Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics (Seventh Edition), Michael J. Moran, Howard N. Shapiro, Daisie
D. Boettner, Margaret B. Bailey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011, ISBN 978-0470-49590-2
3. ^ Philip E. Bloomfield, William A. Steele, "Thermodynamic processes," in AccessScience, McGraw-Hill
Companies, 2008, http://www.accessscience.com
4. ^ Physics Principles with Applications (Second Edition), Douglas C, Giancoli, Printice Hall, Inc., 1985, ISBN 0-
13-672627-5 01
5. ^ Thermodynamics Fundamentals for Applications, John P. OConnell, J.M. Haile, Cambridge University Press,
2005, ISBN 978-0-521-58206-3
6. ^ Physics Principles with Applications (Second Edition), Douglas C, Giancoli, Printice Hall, Inc., 1985, ISBN 0-
13-672627-5 01
7. ^ Thermodynamics (Third Edition), Kenneth Wark, McGraw-Hill Inc, 1977, ISBN 0-07-068280-1
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thermodynamic_process_path&oldid=603519119"
Categories: Thermodynamics
This page was last modified on 9 April 2014 at 22:58.
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia is a registered trademark
of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.