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Homework Help: Expanding gas - is any work done?

  1. Sep 29, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I can't figure this out...if you have a gas in a rigid container, with a membrane separating the gas from a vacuum in the other half of the container, then remove the membrane and allow the gas to expand, is any work done? It's not expanding against force - does that make work done 0?

    2. Relevant equations

    W = P*V

    3. The attempt at a solution

    dV is positive, so work is also positive?
    Except P = 0 from the other side, which would seem to make W = 0*dV = 0
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2013 #2


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    You're right. The work is 0 because the gas doesn't have to push against anything to expand.
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