Reversible vs. Irreversible work amount

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Reversible vs. Irreversible work amount

Postby JennyCKim1J » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:28 am

Can someone explain why reversible system does more work than irreversible using the 2atm pushing against 1atm vs. 2atm pushing against 2atm diagram? I get the general concept but I don't understand the diagram.

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Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible work amount

Postby Sungyoon_Baek_1A » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:17 am

When we look at the graphs of the reversible and irreversible reactions (volume on the x axis and pressure on the y axis) we know that the area under the curve represents the amount of work done. For an irreversible expansion, the pressure is constant so the work done is only that box under the curve, however, for a reversible expansion, the pressure and volume and are changing so we see that in addition to the square (like the reversible) there is extra area under the curve. All of that extra area is extra work being done by the reversible reaction than the irreversible reaction.

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