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If you are putting work into the system (say pressing a piston into a cylinder containing a gas at a given pressure), the volume is becoming smaller, so ΔV is negative. The negative of the pressure times a negative ΔV is a positive value, which matches with the sign convention for putting work in.
Payton Schwesinger 1J wrote:I also think that if the system is doing work on the surroundings, then energy is being released and therefore the work has a negative value... am I thinking about this right?
Yes, that's also right!
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