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E4511ps6-txt - Engineering 45 The Structure and Properties...

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Page 1 Engineering 45 The Structure and Properties of Materials Spring, 2011 Problem Set No. 6 Problem 1: (a) Consider a system that has a constant chemical content, and is in thermal and mechanical contact with a reservoir that fixes its temperature and pressure. Show that the thermodynamic potential that governs the behavior of this system is the Gibbs free energy, G = E - TS + PV in the sense that no spontaneous change in the internal state of the system can decrease G. [A change in the internal state of this system is one that does not alter its chemical content, which is fixed by its boundary, or its temperature and pressure, which are fixed by the reservoir.] (b) Explain how the condition of equilibrium that is contained in part (a) permits three kinds of equilibrium: stable equilibrium, in which the system is stable with respect to all possible internal perturbations; metastable equilibrium, in which the system is in equilibrium with respect to small perturbations, but will spontaneously evolve in response
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