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What is the difference between reversible and irreversible processes in terms of thermodynamics. Does it have to do with volume changing back to what it was before? I'm confused on the text book's explanation. And also why do reversible processes do more work than irreversible ones?
Irreversible and Reversible changes can occur with isothermal expansion meaning the temperature is constant or ∆T = 0. In irreversible you use the equation: w= -Pe * ∆V which is usually used when you are given constant pressure. For reversible you use the equation: w= -nRT * ln (Vf / Vi). A reversible expansion is also known as a gradual process meaning that work on the surroundings is being done slowly and thus more work is being done and less heat is lost to the surroundings so the reversible performs a higher work than irreversible.
smurphy1D wrote:Would irreversible reactions occur in open containers then? If the pressure is constant is it always a irreversible reaction?
In open containers I believe you would use the irreversible equation since you are losing energy in the form of heat to the surroundings. According to the first comment, that would only be if you were given a constant pressure.
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