Adiabatic process

In thermodynamics, an adiabatic process (Greek: adiábatos, "impassable") is a type of thermodynamic process that occurs without transferring heat or mass between the thermodynamic system and its environment. Unlike an isothermal process, an adiabatic process transfers energy to the surroundings only as work.[1][2] As a key concept in thermodynamics, the adiabatic process supports the theory that explains the first law of thermodynamics.

Some chemical and physical processes occur too rapidly for energy to enter or leave the system as heat, allowing a convenient "adiabatic approximation".[3] For example, the adiabatic flame temperature uses this approximation to calculate the upper limit of flame temperature by assuming combustion loses no heat to its surroundings.

In meteorology and oceanography, adiabatic cooling produces condensation of moisture or salinity, oversaturating the parcel. Therefore, the excess must be removed. There, the process becomes a pseudo-adiabatic process whereby the liquid water or salt that condenses is assumed to be removed upon formation by idealized instantaneous precipitation. The pseudoadiabatic process is only defined for expansion because a compressed parcel becomes warmer and remains undersaturated.[4]

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Adiabatic process, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.