Hello PF! Consider the free expansion of an ideal gas. The process occurs at constant temperature, therefore, ΔU = 0, Q = 0, and W = 0. Suppose we are given the initial and final pressures of the gas, and we calculate ΔG = nRT ln(P(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); _{2}/P_{1}). As P_{2}< P_{1}, ΔG < 0. This is intuitive, as a free expansion is clearly spontaneous. My question is, ΔG is commonly (physically) interpreted as the opposite of the "useful work" done by the system, but in this case the system does zero work. Does this mean ΔG is not an actual physical quantity, but a helpful theoretical measure of the useful work that can be extracted from the system?

Thanks in advance for any input!

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# Free energy in the free expansion of an ideal gas

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