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Matthew Chan 1B wrote:When there is work done on a system, the work is negative. However, when the system itself does work, then work is positive.
Sorry, I meant it the other way around haha! Work is negative when the system does work. When the system has work done on it, then work is positive. Sorry about the typo!
In thermodynamics, work is the energy transferred from the system to the surroundings. So, when the system transfers energy to the surroundings by doing work, the work is negative. When the surroundings transfer energy to the system by doing work on it, the work is positive.
When work as done on a system it is positive (because its like taking in work potential by having work done on it). When a system does work then the value is negative (because there is an output of work, like when a reaction is exothermic and releasing heat and the heat or enthalpy value is negative).
If the system is doing work on the surroundings, like when the volume of something is expanding or heat is being released; but if something is being compressed or heat is being put in, then the surroundings are doing work on the system.
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