PHYS 317 - Reading Assignment #2

Read sections 1.4-1.5, and answer the following questions by email (, hardcopy, or web form before class Monday, Sep 1.

  1. In equation (1.24), is the "W" the work done by the system or the work done on the system?

    Work done on the system.

  2. Is it possible to increase the temperature of water by stirring it?

    Yes, you are doing work on the water.

  3. Which process results in a steeper curve in a P versus V plot, an adiabat or an isotherm?

    An adiabat. Consider adiabatic compression: work is done on the gas and the process is too fast for any heat transfer, so the energy of the gas increases. Therefore the temperature must increase. Moving from a lower T isotherm to a higher T isotherm as V decreases makes a steeper curve than the isotherms themselves.

  4. Which process is the (idealized) slow process, adiabat or isotherm?

    Very slow processes are isothermal, because then there is enough time for heat to flow until the temperature equilibrates with the surroundings.

  5. Was there anything you had particular difficulty with in this reading? Is so, describe briefly.

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