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### Uses of different formulas

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:17 pm
How do I know when to use w=-pv vs w= -nrT ln(V2/V1) ?

### Re: Uses of different formulas

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:21 pm
w= -PΔV should be used for irreversible expansions, and it is probably stated in the question if the process is irreversible. w=-nRTln(V2/V1) is for reversible expansions.

### Re: Uses of different formulas

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:26 pm
If the external pressure is constant, it's irreversible expansion.

### Re: Uses of different formulas

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:29 pm
W=-Pext(deltaV) is used when there is a constant external pressure outside of a system, and the system irreversibly expands into its surroundings, doing a certain amount of work. W=-nRTlnv2/v1 is used for a much more nuanced system, in which the external pressure is not constant but is instead subject to very, very small fluctuations. Think of it as a piston inside a larger, sealed container. The reason this expansion is called "reversible" is that any change in the external pressure will be counteracted and "reversed": for example, a decrease in the pressure outside of the piston will cause the volume of the gas in the piston to expand, thereby increasing the pressure outside the piston and pushing the gas back down. All of this happens in very small increments. And it is isothermal, so it remains the same temperature the entire time. Hope this makes sense.