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Homework Help: Thermodynamic processes: probably easy question

  1. Aug 4, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I'm probably over thinking this question.

    An ideal gas is placed in a thin walled aluminum cylinder and slowly compressed to 25% of its original volume. The process is best described as adiabatic, isothermal, isochoric, or isobaric?

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    I know the difference between the different processes. I'm just not sure how the thin walled aluminum container adds to the problem or if it does. In similar problems, a thick walled aluminum container represented constant volume.

    Obviously the answer is not isochoric since the volume changes. I don't think it is adiabatic because the process happens slowly.

    That leaves isothermal and isobaric. I know isothermal must happen slowly enough so thermal equilibrium is maintained. (This is what I suspect is the answer).

    How would a thin walled aluminum container affect pressure?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2011 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Homework Helper

    Welcome to Physics Forums.

    Perhaps the wall thickness could affect the insulating ability of the container.

    Hmmm, if you are basically deciding between isothermal and isobaric, then think about this: if it's isobaric, then what happens to the temperature of the gas upon compression in order to keep the pressure constant? Is it reasonable for this to happen?
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