You can expect questions involving isothermal and adiabatic processes in most entrance examinations. Here is a typical question:

This is an adiabatic change since the compression is sudden so that the volume(V) and the temperature (T) are related as TV

Therefore we have 300 V

The following MCQ is meant for testing your understanding of the work done in thermodynamic processes:

**A gas at a temperature of 27°C inside a container is suddenly compressed to one sixteenths of its initial volume. The temperature of the gas immediately after the compression is (Ratio of specific heats of the gas, γ = 1.5)**

(a) 19200 K (b) 1200°C (c) 927°C (d) 108°C (e) 19200°C(a) 19200 K (b) 1200°C (c) 927°C (d) 108°C (e) 19200°C

This is an adiabatic change since the compression is sudden so that the volume(V) and the temperature (T) are related as TV

^{γ–1}= constant.Therefore we have 300 V

^{0.5}= T(V/16)^{0.5}. Note that the temperature is to be substituted in Kelvin. The final temperature is given by T = 300×16^{0.5}= 1200 K = 927°C.The following MCQ is meant for testing your understanding of the work done in thermodynamic processes:

**Starting from the same initial conditions an ideal gas expands from volume V**

_{1}to volume V_{2}in three different ways: (i) Adiabatically, doing work W_{1}. (ii) Isothermally, doing work W_{2}. (iii) Isobarically, doing work W_{3}. Then,**(a) W**

_{1}= W_{2}= W_{3}(b) W_{1}> W_{2}> W_{3}(c) W_{3}> W_{2}> W_{1}(d) W_{2}> W_{1}> W_{3}(e) W_{1}> W_{3}> W_{2}Since the work done is the area under the corresponding curve in a PV diagram, you can easily verify that the work done is the largest in the isobaric case since it is a straight line parallel to the volume axis. The adiabatic curve is the steepest one so that the area under it is the smallest. The correct option therefore is (c).

You can easily show that the

Differentiating, P γV

In the case of an isothermal change, the pressure and volume are related as PV= constant.

Differentiating, PdV + VdP = 0.

This show that the slope of the adiabatic curve is γ times the slope ofthe isothermal curve.

The following MCQ also pertains to adiabatic compression:

You can easily show that the

**as follows***slope of the adiabatic curve is γ times the slope ofthe isothermal curve**:*

In the case of an adiabatic change, the pressure and volume are related as PV^{γ}= constant.Differentiating, P γV

^{γ–1}dV + V^{γ}dP = 0*Slope of adiabatic curve*= dP/dV = (– γPV^{γ–1})/V^{γ}= – γP/VIn the case of an isothermal change, the pressure and volume are related as PV= constant.

Differentiating, PdV + VdP = 0.

*Slope of isothermal curve*= dP/dV = – P/V.This show that the slope of the adiabatic curve is γ times the slope ofthe isothermal curve.

The following MCQ also pertains to adiabatic compression:

**A gas having a volume of 800 cm**

(a) P/32 (b) 24P (c) 32P (d) 8P (e) 16P

We have PV^{3}is suddenly compressed to 100cm^{3}. If the initial pressure is P, the final pressure is (γ = 5/3)(a) P/32 (b) 24P (c) 32P (d) 8P (e) 16P

^{γ}= constant so that P×800^{5/3}= P'×100^{5/3}from which P' = P×8^{5/3}= P×2^{5}= 32P.Now, see this simple question:

**An ideal gas expands isothermally from volume V**

(a) P_{1}to volume V_{2}. It is then compressed to the original volume V_{1}adiabatically. The initial pressure is P_{1}, final pressure is P_{2}and the net work done by the gas during the entire process is W. Then(a) P

_{1}= P_{2}, W>0 (b) P_{1}> P_{2}, W>0 (c) P_{2}> P_{1}, W>0 (d) P_{2}> P_{1}, W=0 (e) P_{2}> P_{1}, W<0The adiabatic compression will increase the temperature of the gas so that the final pressure (P

_{2}) when the volume is restored to the value V_{1}is greater than the initial pressure P_{1}. Since the pressure is greater during the adiabatic compression, more work has to be done on the gas. The work done on the gas is thus greater than the work done by the gas. In other words, the net work done by the gas during the entire process is negative. So, the correct option is (e).
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