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Homework Help: Path dependence - Question of Thermodynamics

  1. Jun 26, 2013 #1
    I've read a solution of a problem, in which there are two different gases in a container, initally at equilibrium and separated by an adiabatic fix wall. At some time, this wall is changed by a diathermic mobile wall, so the equilibrium point changes. You have to find the final state of the gases, given the initial volumes, temperatures and pressions.

    Then the solution says: we will divide the process in two parts: first an isochoric process and after that and isothermal one. But it is clear that pressure and temperature evolve at the same time.
    I'm making a bit of a mess here: is it path dependent or indpendent? In a generic process, when is it path independent and when it is not? And why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2013 #2
    State variables, such as energy, entropy, enthalpy, free energy, temperature, pressure, volume, etc. are path independent.

    The chief path-dependent quantities in thermodynamics are work and heat. They are not determined just by the state, but by the path taken to reach the state.
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