Open system, closed system and isolated system

Thermodynamics involves the study of the exchange of thermal energy between a system and its environment. There are three types of thermodynamic systems that vary depending on the possible transfer of heat and matter, they are classified as open, closed or isolated systems .

Systems refer to whatever part of the universe is being studied. If, for example, you are conducting an experiment in a beaker, then the system you are studying is inside the beaker. It will be subject to surrounding factors such as temperature and air pressure .

Open system
System closed
Isolated system
TimeThe mass is not fixed and can cross the boundary of the systemThe mass is fixed and cannot cross the boundary of the systemThe mass is fixed and cannot cross the boundary of the system
Thermal energyThermal energy can be exchanged with its surroundingsThermal energy can be exchanged with its surroundingsThermal energy cannot be exchanged with its surroundings either
ExamplesBy boiling soup in an open saucepan on a stove, energy and matter are transferred to the surroundings through steamWhen we put a lid on the saucepan mentioned in the open system example. We avoid the transfer.A thermos (although in reality this system does not exist because the water in it does not stay hot forever)

thermodynamic system

A thermodynamic system is defined as a quantity of matter or a region of space in which attention is focused in the analysis of a problem.

  • Everything external to the system is called the Envelope.
  • The system is separated from the environment by the system boundary. This can be fixed or mobile.
  • The system and its surroundings together make up the Universe.
  • There are three types of thermodynamic systems: closed system, open system and isolated system

System closed

The mass is fixed and cannot cross the boundary of the system. This is also called a mass control system. Thermal energy can be exchanged with its surroundings.

“A closed system is defined as one in which the mass is fixed (no mass can cross the boundary of the system) and thermal energy can be transferred to its environment.”

Example:

When we put the lid on the saucepan, we turn it into a closed system. By doing this the matter can no longer be transferred because the lid prevents it from entering or leaving the pan. You will understand this example better when we finish analyzing the open system. So now let’s get started with it.

Open system

The mass is not fixed and can cross the boundary of the system. Also called a volume control system. Thermal energy can also be exchanged with its surroundings.

“An open system is defined as one in which mass and thermal energy can be transferred to its surroundings.”

Example:

By boiling soup in an open saucepan on a stove, energy and matter are transferred to the surroundings through steam, this is an example of an open system. Other examples can be air compressors or turbines.

Isolated system

The mass is fixed and can never cross the boundary of the system. This is also called a mass control system. Thermal energy cannot be exchanged with its surroundings either.

“An isolated system is defined as one in which the mass is fixed (no mass can cross the boundary of the system) and furthermore the thermal energy cannot be transferred to its environment.”

Example:

A thermos (although in reality this system does not exist because the water in it does not stay hot forever)


We have reached the end of the article on the differences between open systems, closed systems and isolated systems. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below, we will respond as soon as possible.

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