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!

Homework Help: Physical meaning of the extremums of the Van Der Waals equation

  1. May 4, 2012 #1
    Hi everyone,

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    When I draw an isotherm into a p-V diagram I have to extrem values. If I do an experiment I won't find any extremum, because the van der waals equation isotherm is just theoretical (it's just a line in an experiment).
    However, I want to know the 'physical' meaning of the extremums, what do they mean?

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    As I don't have statisical mechanics/theoretical thermodynamics during my study I just get to know the basics in thermodynamics. I asked some friends of mine though they don't know the answer either. We thought about the following: When I approch the isotherm from the right I will find a maximum. This could be, because some of the particles start to condensate while others are still gaseous. That was the only idea we got, but I don't think that's the answer.

    Can anyone try to help me out?

    Thanks for you help
  2. jcsd
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Can you offer guidance or do you also need help?
Draft saved Draft deleted