What will be the work done on an ideal gas enclosed in a cylinder, when it is compressed by a constant external pressure, p_{ext} in a single step as shown in Fig. 6.2. Explain graphically.

Answers (1)

Assumption: Cylinder is filled with one mole gas, and the piston is frictionless. Let the pressure of gas inside be p and the volume of gas be V_{I}.

Piston is moved towards the inside to make the external pressure (P_{ext}) equal to p. Now, let us assume that this change take place in a single step, hence, V is the final volume. The work done by the piston is depicted in the graph shown below by shading the area.

P_{ext}\Delta V=AV_{I}(or\; BV_{II})\times (V_{I}-V_{II})

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