1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Non-quasistatic compression?

  1. Mar 25, 2012 #1
    I'm currently learning about different types of compressional work. The book I'm using covers mostly just isothermal and adiabatic processes, which make sense. Isothermal being so slow that everything equilibriates while adiabatic is so fast that heat cannot escape.

    However, the book briefly mentions that we can only say F=PA if the process is quasistatic, i.e. the gas is compressed faster than the relaxation time (speed > speed of sound). Why would F=PA still not apply in the case of a "non-quasistatic" process? Wouldn't it just be a differential process ? I.e. there'd be a pressure gradient of some sort. Or is there something I'm missing?

    And how can a process be adiabatic but also quasistatic?

    Moreover, what happens when something is compressed at speeds faster than the speed of sound? How does the medium behave?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2012 #2

    Andrew Mason

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Adiabatic processes can be slow. Adiabatic simply means no heat flow occurs between the system and surroundings. Slow adiabatic processes can occur, for example, if the system is thermally isolated.

    Quasi-static does not mean that the gas is compressed faster than the relaxation time. "Quasi-static" means that the process occurs at conditions arbitrarily close to equilibrium.

    The process has to occur slowly and without heat flow. In the real world (eg in an engine) this is hard to do. One would need very good insulation.

    If something is compressed faster than the speed of sound you get a shock wave.

  4. Mar 26, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    E.g. second viscosity:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook