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Lavelle has not gone over this topic yet because he is starting on thermochemistry first and then going to thermodynamics. I am guessing that you would use the equation according to the information given in the problem.
Use the first equation for irreversible expansions/contractions occurring against constant external pressure. Use the second equation for reversible expansions where the external pressure is always equal to the internal pressure (pressure of the expanding/contracting gas).
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