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Thermodynamics: Internal Energy, Enthalpy, & Specific Heat of Ideal Gases

Instead of using tables to find a gases internal energy and enthalpy, the ideal gas equations could be used. However, you have to be sure that the ideal gas law can be used for that substance without major loss of accuracy, and you need to have an understanding of what specific heat is.

What is an Ideal Gas?

An ideal gas is a gas that can have its density, pressure, and temperature related through the ideal gas law. The ideal gas law is represented in equation 1.

Ideal Gas Law (1)

It is important to realize that the ideal gas law provides an approximation of what the actual value for the gas could be. The ideal gas law works best for gases that have a low density state, is in a low pressure state, or has a high temperature state. The ideal gas law does not work well for water vapor or refrigerant coolants; thermodynamic tables should be used instead.

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