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The body provides us with an excellent indication that many thermodynamic processes are irreversible . An irreversible process can go in one direction but not the reverse, under a given set of conditions. For example, although body fat can be converted to do work and produce heat transfer, work done on the body and heat transfer into it cannot be converted to body fat. Otherwise, we could skip lunch by sunning ourselves or by walking down stairs. Another example of an irreversible thermodynamic process is photosynthesis. This process is the intake of one form of energy—light—by plants and its conversion to chemical potential energy. Both applications of the first law of thermodynamics are illustrated in [link] . One great advantage of conservation laws such as the first law of thermodynamics is that they accurately describe the beginning and ending points of complex processes, such as metabolism and photosynthesis, without regard to the complications in between. [link] presents a summary of terms relevant to the first law of thermodynamics.

Part a of the figure is a pictorial representation of metabolism in a human body. The food is shown to enter the body as shown by a bold arrow toward the body. Work W and heat Q leave the body as shown by bold arrows pointing outward from the body. Delta U is shown as the stored food energy. Part b of the figure shows the metabolism in plants .The heat from the sunlight is shown to fall on a plant represented as Q in. The heat given out by the plant is shown as Q out by an arrow pointing away from the plant.
(a) The first law of thermodynamics applied to metabolism. Heat transferred out of the body ( Q size 12{Q} {} ) and work done by the body ( W size 12{W} {} ) remove internal energy, while food intake replaces it. (Food intake may be considered as work done on the body.) (b) Plants convert part of the radiant heat transfer in sunlight to stored chemical energy, a process called photosynthesis.
Summary of terms for the first law of thermodynamics, ΔU=Q−W
Term Definition
U size 12{U} {} Internal energy—the sum of the kinetic and potential energies of a system’s atoms and molecules. Can be divided into many subcategories, such as thermal and chemical energy. Depends only on the state of a system (such as its P size 12{P} {} , V size 12{V} {} , and T size 12{T} {} ), not on how the energy entered the system. Change in internal energy is path independent.
Q size 12{Q} {} Heat—energy transferred because of a temperature difference. Characterized by random molecular motion. Highly dependent on path. Q size 12{Q} {} entering a system is positive.
W size 12{W} {} Work—energy transferred by a force moving through a distance. An organized, orderly process. Path dependent. W size 12{W} {} done by a system (either against an external force or to increase the volume of the system) is positive.

Section summary

  • The first law of thermodynamics is given as Δ U = Q W size 12{ΔU=Q - W} {} , where Δ U size 12{ΔU} {} is the change in internal energy of a system, Q size 12{Q} {} is the net heat transfer (the sum of all heat transfer into and out of the system), and W size 12{W} {} is the net work done (the sum of all work done on or by the system).
  • Both Q size 12{Q} {} and W size 12{W} {} are energy in transit; only Δ U size 12{ΔU} {} represents an independent quantity capable of being stored.
  • The internal energy U size 12{U} {} of a system depends only on the state of the system and not how it reached that state.
  • Metabolism of living organisms, and photosynthesis of plants, are specialized types of heat transfer, doing work, and internal energy of systems.

Conceptual questions

Describe the photo of the tea kettle at the beginning of this section in terms of heat transfer, work done, and internal energy. How is heat being transferred? What is the work done and what is doing it? How does the kettle maintain its internal energy?

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Questions & Answers

What is physics?
Jeuloriz Reply
physics is a branch of science in which we are dealing with the knowledge of our physical things. macroscopic as well as microscopic. we are going look inside the univers with the help of physics. you can learn nature with the help of physics. so many branches of physics you have to learn physics.
vijay
What are quarks?
Breanna Reply
6 type of quarks
Neyaz
what is candela
Akani Reply
Candela is the unit for the measurement of light intensity.
Osei
any one can prove that 1hrpower= 746 watt
Neyaz Reply
Newton second is the unit of ...............?
Neyaz
Impulse and momentum
Fauzia
force×time and mass× velocity
vijay
Good
Neyaz
What is the simple harmonic motion?
Fauzia Reply
oscillatory motion under a retarding force proportional to the amount of displacement from an equilibrium position
Yuri
Straight out of google, you could do that to, I suppose.
Yuri
*too
Yuri
ok
Fauzia
Oscillatory motion under a regarding force proportional to the amount of displacement from an equilibrium position
Neyaz
examples of work done by load of gravity
Maureen Reply
What is ehrenfest theorem?
Fauzia Reply
You can look it up, faster and more reliable answer.
Yuri
That isn't a question to ask on a forum and I also have no idea what that is.
Yuri
what is the work done by gravity on the load 87kj,11.684m,mass xkg[g=19m/s
Maureen
What is law of mass action?
Fauzia Reply
rate of chemical reactions is proportional to concentration of reactants ...
muhammad
ok thanks
Fauzia
what is lenses
Ndobe Reply
lenses are two types
Fauzia
concave and convex
muhammad
right
Fauzia
speed of light in space
Vikash Reply
in vacuum speed of light is 3×10^8 m/s
vijay
ok
Vikash
2.99×10^8m/s
Umair
2.8820^8m/s
Muhammed
which is correct answer
Vikash
he is correct but we can round up in simple terms
vijay
3×10^8m/s
vijay
is it correct
Fauzia
I mean 3*10^8 m/s ok
vijay
299792458 meter per second
babar
3*10^8m/s
Neyaz
how many Maxwell relations in thermodynamics
vijay
how we can do prove them?
vijay
What is second law of thermodynamics?
Neyaz
please who has a detailed solution to the first two professional application questions under conservation of momentum
Kwaku Reply
I want to know more about pressure
Osei
I can help
Emeh
okay go on
True
I mean on pressure
Emeh
definition of Pressure
John
it is the force per unit area of a substance.S.I unit is Pascal 1pascal is defined as 1N acting on 1m² area i.e 1pa=1N/m²
Emeh
pls explain Doppler effect
Emmex
solve this an inverted differential manometer containing oil specific gravity 0.9 and manometer reading is 400mm find the difference of pressure
Abayomi Reply
Einstine claim that nothing can go with the speed of light even its half (50%) but in to make antimatter they they hit the sub atomic particals 99.9%the speed of light how is it possible
Salima Reply
nothing with physical properties. this doesn't include things like particles and gravitational waves
Mustafa
that particles are of very small mass.... near equals to massless
Aritra
but they exist
vijay
yes they exist but mass is too less
Aritra
ok
vijay
greet all
Abayomi
the unit of radioactivity is .....?
Neyaz
Great Sharukh ! Do you have question in physics?
Bibekbir Reply
book says that when wave enter from one medium to another its wavelenght changes but frequency not how ? and f is inversely related to wavelenth
Sharukh
yes but how comes
Sani
how are you?
Sharukh Reply
please help me
World
what's the problem
Aritra
I really don't know physics.. I need help,in solving
Amara
me too
Ewulum
hii
Cheeru
I really don't know physics.. I need help,in solving
Cheeru
me too
True
I can teach u if u are ready
latunde
yes I am ready
True
hi
Emeh
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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