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On the diagram of isothermal reversible expansion from lecture on Wednesday (1/24/18) it said that one side of the piston had an ideal gas, and one side was a vacuum. What exactly is a vacuum (and what does it entail/mean in the diagram)?
A vacuum is a volume that encloses little or no matter. In other words, it is a region that has a gaseous pressure much lower than that of atmospheric pressure---so that's what it represents in the system with the ideal gas that we were shown in class!
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