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When you are finding the work done in a reversible pathway, you must find the sum of a series of infinitesimal steps, which can be accomplished using an integral. The work done by an irreversible pathway involves a rapid change in volume and pressure, so a different formula is used.
Leslie Almaraz 4G wrote:Is irreversible always sudden?
Generally, irreversible expansions are quicker than reversible ones because they do not have be changed by an infinitesimally small amount at a time. However, this doesn't always mean that they are very sudden.
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