Saturday, 12 March 2011

Thermodynamic system

A thermodynamic system is a precisely defined macroscopic region of the universe, often called a physical system, that is studied using the principles of thermodynamics.

All space in the universe outside the thermodynamic system is known as the surroundings, the environment, or a reservoir. A system is separated from its surroundings by a boundary which may be notional or real, but which by convention delimits a finite volume. Exchanges of work, heat, or matter between the system and the surroundings may take place across this boundary. Thermodynamic systems are often classified by specifying the nature of the exchanges that are allowed to occur across its boundary.

A thermodynamic system is characterized and defined by a set of thermodynamic parameters associated with the system. The parameters are experimentally measurable macroscopic properties, such as volume, pressure, temperature, electric field, and others.

The set of thermodynamic parameters necessary to uniquely define a system is called the thermodynamic state of a system. The state of a system is expressed as a functional relationship, the equation of state, between its parameters. A system is in thermodynamic equilibrium when the state of the system does not change with time.

Originally, in 1824, Sadi Carnot described a thermodynamic system as the working substance under study.

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