# Reversible and Irreversible Isothermal Expansion of an Ideal Gas

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This Demonstration compares the thermodynamic processes of reversible and irreversible isothermal expansion of an ideal gas. The graph and the image of a piston at the top represent the slow expansion of a gas from an initial volume to a final volume (you can vary these volumes with the sliders). Reversible work is given by the integral , which equals the lightly shaded area below the top curve. By the usual thermodynamic convention, negative work means work done *by* the system *on* the surroundings.

Contributed by: Blair Winograd (June 2015)

Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

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Reference

[1] P. Atkins and L. Jones, *Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight*, New York: W. H. Freeman, 1999.

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