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Andrew Nguyen 2I wrote:Can someone explain why mercury in a thermometer is an open system (obviously it can transfer mass+energy), but how?
I just looked at the solutions manual and it states the mercury in a thermometer is a closed system. The mercury has a fixed amount of matter, but it can still exchange energy with its surroundings so it's a closed system.
Yes, it is a closed system because heat is absorbed or released in a thermometer causing the mercury to rise and fall, but the amount of mercury in the thermometer will never change. If it were an open system then there would also have to be a way for the mass of mercury to enter the surroundings.
It would be a closed system. In a closed system, there is a transfer of energy but not of matter. Because it's in a tube, the mercury can't escape. But it can respond by changes in volume based on the transfer of energy through heat. Therefore, its a closed system.
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