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14 2 Introduction… The word thermodynamics stems from the Greek words therme (heat) and dynamis (force). Although various aspects of what is now known as thermodynamics have been of interest since antiquity, the formal study of thermodynamics began in the early nineteenth century through consideration of the motive power of heat: the capacity of hot bodies to produce work. Today the scope is larger, dealing generally with energy and with relationships among the properties of matter. The objective of this chapter is to introduce you to some of the fundamental concepts and definitions that are used in our study of thermodynamics. In most instances the introduction is brief, and further elaboration is provided in subsequent chapters. Defining Systems An important step in any engineering analysis is to describe precisely what is being stud- ied. In mechanics, if the motion of a body is to be determined, normally the first step is to define a free body and identify all the forces exerted on it by other bodies. Newton’s second law of motion is then applied. In thermal systems engineering, the term system is used to identify the subject of the analysis. Once the system is defined and the relevant interactions with other systems are identified, one or more physical laws or relations are applied. The system is whatever we want to study. It may be as simple as a free body or as com- plex as an entire chemical refinery. We may want to study a quantity of matter contained within a closed, rigid-walled tank, or we may want to consider something such as a pipeline through which natural gas flows. The composition of the matter inside the system may be fixed or may be changing through chemical or nuclear reactions. The shape or volume of the system being analyzed is not necessarily constant, as when a gas in a cylinder is compressed by a piston or a balloon is inflated. Everything external to the system is considered to be part of the system’s surroundings. The system is distinguished from its surroundings by a specified boundary, which may be at rest or in motion. You will see that the interactions between a system and its surround- ings, which take place across the boundary, play an important part in thermal systems engineering. It is essential for the boundary to be delineated carefully before proceeding with an analysis. However, the same physical phenomena often can be analyzed in terms of alternative choices of the system, boundary, and surroundings. The choice of a particular boundary defining a particular system is governed by the convenience it allows in the subsequent analysis. 2.1 GETTING STARTED IN THERMODYNAMICS: INTRODUCTORY CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS chapter objective system surroundings boundary
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2.1 Defining Systems 15 Types of Systems Two basic kinds of systems are distinguished in this book. These are referred to, respectively, as closed systems and control volumes. A closed system refers to a fixed quantity of matter, whereas a control volume is a region of space through which mass may flow.
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