Mr. Rogers' AP Physics C: IB Physics Topics

Syllabus 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
IB SL Thermo IB HL Thermo IB HL Waves AP Review  

Topic 9: HL Thermal Physics (SL optional) - Thermodynamic Processes
1st Law 2nd Law Processes Heat Engines HL Equations

Isobaric - constant pressure

An isobaric process requires a large amount of heat input. The process is a suitable model for the fuel injection portion of a Diesel cycle.

W = ∫ P(v) dv  or area under the curve

W = P1 (v2 - v1)

Isothermal - constant temperature

An isothermal process requires a moderate amount of heat input. This process is found in the idealized Carnot cycle.

For a perfect gas:

Pv = nRT

P = nRT/v

W = ∫ P(v) dv

   = ∫ nRT/v dv   integrate from v1 to v2

 W  = nRT ln|v2/v1|


Adiabatic - zero heat transfer

The compression and expansion cycles of internal combustion, piston-driven engines occur so fast that they are considered adiabatic. Essentially there is not enough time for heat transfer.

Since no heat is transferred in, adiabatic expansions do less work than an isothermal expansion with the same starting conditions and ending volume.

Isochoric - constant volume

An isochoric process cannot do work since there is no change in volume.


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