Irreversible Processes In A Hydroelectric Dam

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Reversible and Irreversible Processes in a Hydroelectric Dam
In Thermodynamics, there are two main processes that take place in our environment: reversible processes and irreversible processes. Reversible processes are said to be ideal processes that seldom occur. Irreversible processes are the processes that can be easily found in nature and that occur naturally. It is said that when a system experiences a change to its initial state while moving to its final state, the system has undergone some type of a thermodynamic process. During this process, changes in the systems pressure, temperature, volume, enthalpy, etc. can occur. It is because of the discovery of the second law of thermodynamics that we are able to classify these processes as
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When an irreversible process takes place within a system, the initial state of the system cannot be restored from the final state. A major change occurs to the thermodynamic properties of the system and its surroundings. When the forward process of the system takes place, the reverse process of the system cannot restore the system back to its original state. Reversible and irreversible process follow certain paths. Reversible process are able follow the same path in reverse to complete a process whereas, irreversible process cannot follow the same path in reverse due to the violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Irreversible processes are said to have a low efficiency due to the energy loss of the system as it undergoes an irreversible process. Irreversible processes occur at a finite rate within the system and does not stay in thermodynamic equilibrium. An example of an irreversible process that takes place is friction. Friction is naturally occurring and it forces a system to have a large work input but, it also causes the system to have a low work output. As the system tries to overcome the friction, heat is generated and displaced to the system's surroundings and therefore energy is …show more content…
As water flows into the turbine of the hydroelectric dam, the energy of the water is converted into mechanical energy by the hydraulic turbine. The newly transformed mechanical energy is then converted into electricity. The electricity is then sent out to power our homes, schools, businesses, etc. This is an irreversible process because the system cannot be restored to its original state if the process were to be in reverse. As the water flows through the hydroelectric dam, the water causes the turbine to spin. The turbine then produces mechanical work. Mechanical work tends to produce heat and heat loss. If the reverse process cannot reclaim the same amount of energy that the system was able to output, then the process is considered to be

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