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If a process is reversible then you can think of it as being done in infinetely small increments. Because of this the system remains in equilibrium with its surroundings and work can be calculated using the integral formula. If it is irreversible, the change is rapid and the system cannot be in equilibrium and the work is w=-pdeltaV.
PranaviKolla2B wrote:What exactly does it mean for a process to be reversible?
In the review session today, they said something is reversible when ΔS total=0 and since
ΔS total= ΔS system + ΔS surroundings then
ΔS system = -Δ S surroundings
The textbook also defines a reversible process as a process that can be reversed by an infinitely small change in a variable. for example if the external pressure matches the internal pressure of a gas in the system the piston does not move. But if the external pressure is increased by a infinitely small change, then the piston moves in.
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