<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
  • Define the first law of thermodynamics.
  • Describe how conservation of energy relates to the first law of thermodynamics.
  • Identify instances of the first law of thermodynamics working in everyday situations, including biological metabolism.
  • Calculate changes in the internal energy of a system, after accounting for heat transfer and work done.
The photograph shows water boiling in a tea kettle kept on a stove. The water vapor is shown to emerge out of the nozzle of the kettle.
This boiling tea kettle represents energy in motion. The water in the kettle is turning to water vapor because heat is being transferred from the stove to the kettle. As the entire system gets hotter, work is done—from the evaporation of the water to the whistling of the kettle. (credit: Gina Hamilton)

If we are interested in how heat transfer is converted into doing work, then the conservation of energy principle is important. The first law of thermodynamics applies the conservation of energy principle to systems where heat transfer and doing work are the methods of transferring energy into and out of the system. The first law of thermodynamics    states that the change in internal energy of a system equals the net heat transfer into the system minus the net work done by the system. In equation form, the first law of thermodynamics is

Δ U = Q W . size 12{ΔU=Q - W} {}

Here Δ U size 12{ΔU} {} is the change in internal energy U size 12{U} {} of the system. Q size 12{Q} {} is the net heat transferred into the system —that is, Q size 12{Q} {} is the sum of all heat transfer into and out of the system. W size 12{W} {} is the net work done by the system —that is, W size 12{W} {} is the sum of all work done on or by the system. We use the following sign conventions: if Q size 12{Q} {} is positive, then there is a net heat transfer into the system; if W size 12{W} {} is positive, then there is net work done by the system. So positive Q size 12{Q} {} adds energy to the system and positive W size 12{W} {} takes energy from the system. Thus Δ U = Q W size 12{ΔU=Q - W} {} . Note also that if more heat transfer into the system occurs than work done, the difference is stored as internal energy. Heat engines are a good example of this—heat transfer into them takes place so that they can do work. (See [link] .) We will now examine Q size 12{Q} {} , W size 12{W} {} , and Δ U size 12{ΔU} {} further.

The figure shows a schematic diagram of a system shown by an ellipse. Heat Q is shown to enter the system as shown by a bold arrow toward the ellipse. The work done is shown pointing away from the system. The internal energy of the system is marked as delta U equals Q minus W. The second part of the figure shows two arrow diagrams for the heat change Q and work W. Q is shown as Q in minus Q out. W is shown as W out minus W in.
The first law of thermodynamics is the conservation-of-energy principle stated for a system where heat and work are the methods of transferring energy for a system in thermal equilibrium. Q size 12{Q} {} represents the net heat transfer—it is the sum of all heat transfers into and out of the system. Q size 12{Q} {} is positive for net heat transfer into the system. W size 12{W} {} is the total work done on and by the system. W size 12{W} {} is positive when more work is done by the system than on it. The change in the internal energy of the system, Δ U size 12{ΔU} {} , is related to heat and work by the first law of thermodynamics, Δ U = Q W size 12{ΔU=Q - W} {} .

Making connections: law of thermodynamics and law of conservation of energy

The first law of thermodynamics is actually the law of conservation of energy stated in a form most useful in thermodynamics. The first law gives the relationship between heat transfer, work done, and the change in internal energy of a system.

Heat Q And work W

Heat transfer ( Q size 12{Q} {} ) and doing work ( W size 12{W} {} ) are the two everyday means of bringing energy into or taking energy out of a system. The processes are quite different. Heat transfer, a less organized process, is driven by temperature differences. Work, a quite organized process, involves a macroscopic force exerted through a distance. Nevertheless, heat and work can produce identical results. For example, both can cause a temperature increase. Heat transfer into a system, such as when the Sun warms the air in a bicycle tire, can increase its temperature, and so can work done on the system, as when the bicyclist pumps air into the tire. Once the temperature increase has occurred, it is impossible to tell whether it was caused by heat transfer or by doing work. This uncertainty is an important point. Heat transfer and work are both energy in transit—neither is stored as such in a system. However, both can change the internal energy U size 12{U} {} of a system. Internal energy is a form of energy completely different from either heat or work.

Questions & Answers

how lesers can transmit information
mitul Reply
griffts bridge derivative
Ganesh Reply
below me
please explain; when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative- yet both attracts dust. does dust have third types of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative
Timothy Reply
what is a conductor
Timothy
hello
Timothy
below me
why below you
Timothy
no....I said below me ...... nothing below .....ok?
dust particles contains both positive and negative charge particles
Mbutene
corona charge can verify
Stephen
when pressure increases the temperature remain what?
Ibrahim Reply
what is frequency
Mbionyi Reply
define precision briefly
Sujitha Reply
CT scanners do not detect details smaller than about 0.5 mm. Is this limitation due to the wavelength of x rays? Explain.
MITHRA Reply
hope this helps
what's critical angle
Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
dude.....next time Google it
okay whatever
Chidalu
pls who can give the definition of relative density?
Temiloluwa
the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
Chidalu
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
Chidalu
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
Chidalu
how do I highlight a sentence]p? I select the sentence but get options like copy or web search but no highlight. tks. src
Sean Reply
then you can edit your work anyway you want
Wat is the relationship between Instataneous velocity
Oyinlusi Reply
Instantaneous velocity is defined as the rate of change of position for a time interval which is almost equal to zero
Astronomy
The potential in a region between x= 0 and x = 6.00 m lis V= a+ bx, where a = 10.0 V and b = -7.00 V/m. Determine (a) the potential atx=0, 3.00 m, and 6.00 m and (b) the magnitude and direction of the electric ficld at x =0, 3.00 m, and 6.00 m.
what is energy
Victor Reply
hi all?
GIDEON
hey
Bitrus
energy is when you finally get up of your lazy azz and do some real work 😁
what is physics
faith Reply
what are the basic of physics
faith
base itself is physics
Vishlawath
tree physical properties of heat
Bello Reply
tree is a type of organism that grows very tall and have a wood trunk and branches with leaves... how is that related to heat? what did you smoke man?
algum profe sabe .. Progressivo ou Retrógrado e Acelerado ou Retardado   V= +23 m/s        V= +5 m/s        0__>              0__> __________________________>        T= 0               T=6s
Claudia
Practice Key Terms 3

Get the best College physics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask