Delta U

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Karina Kong 2H
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Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:16 am

Delta U

Postby Karina Kong 2H » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:10 pm

Why does Delta U = 0 when the system is isothermal?

Ruby Tang 2J
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Re: Delta U

Postby Ruby Tang 2J » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:20 pm

Technically, ΔU is only truly 0 in the case of an ideal gas. ΔU can be thought of as the gas's internal energy, comprising both potential and kinetic energy. By definition, an ideal gas does not have any interactions between particles, so potential energy is 0. That leaves kinetic energy. Temperature is a measure of the amount of kinetic energy of a substance, and because ΔT of an isothermal process is 0, that must mean that ΔU is 0. In reality, no gas is truly ideal, and therefore even though temperature is held constant in an isothermal process, there will still be some interactions between particles, leading to a change in potential energy and therefore internal energy.

Dina Marchenko 2J
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Re: Delta U

Postby Dina Marchenko 2J » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:13 pm

When a system is isothermal, it means that the temperature is constant so only work (expansion/compression) is considered. Internal energy is not 0 because a system is isothermal; it's 0 if the system is isolated. If a system is isolated, none of its energy is transferred to the surroundings, making the internal energy constant and so the change 0. Isothermal expansion with a nonisolated system does not mean that delta U is 0.

Sanjana Munagala_1j
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Re: Delta U

Postby Sanjana Munagala_1j » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:04 am

You can try to understand this fact in one of two ways.
1) In an isothermal process temperature is constant so the delta T is equal to zero. If you recall the equation, delta U=3/2R(deltaT) if delta T is equal to zero then delta U is equal to zero.
2) If we want to keep the temperature constant for an isothermal process then we need to have the same input of heat for the work done by the system. As a result q=-w and therefore delta U is equal to zero.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Delta U

Postby 805307623 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:48 am

Temperature is held constant, therefore the change in energy is zero (U=0). So, the heat absorbed by the gas equals the work done by the ideal gas on its surroundings.

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Re: Delta U

Postby Abigail_Hagen2G » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:30 pm

Delta U is zero because there is no potential energy because it's an ideal gas, and no kinetic energy because delta t is zero.

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