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MIE 210: Thermodynamics

Laboratory 5 - Entropy

Part 1: Isentropic Gas Expansion

The objective of this lab is to study the isentropic gas expansion process. Using this processes the

heat capacity ratio, of air will be determined. When a gas undergoes expansion, the process

frequently follows the relation:

This is called a polytropic process. For such processes, if n is a constant it follows that,

By combining the ideal gas law and the above equation,

The value of n depends on the specific heat transfer process that occurs during the expansion
process. Two common examples are:

Isothermal Process (constant T):

In an isothermal gas expansion, the gas temperature is maintained constant by heat addition. In
practice this is achieved by performing the expansion sufficiently slowly such that heat transfer from the
surroundings maintains the gas at the desired temperature.

Isentropic Process (constant S): [where k is the specific heat ratio ( )]

In an isentropic gas expansion, the expanding gas does not exchange heat with its surroundings. In
practice this isentropic expansion can be accomplished by either insulating the system from its
surroundings and/or, performing the expansion sufficiently fast such that a negligible amount of heat
transfer occurs.

The figure below illustrates the stages in the isentropic gas expansion process. The gas is first
expanded rapidly from the tank to the atmosphere. The expansion is performed sufficiently quickly such

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MIE 210: Thermodynamics
Laboratory 5 - Entropy

that the process can be assumed to be adiabatic and reversible (isentropic expansion).

The valve is closed and the gas is allowed to return to thermal equilibrium with the environment
(reaching state 3). Note: this is the same state the system would have reached had the expansion been

State 2 State 3

State 1

P2 < P1 P2 < P3< P1

T2<T1 T3=T1<T2
ν2> ν 1 ν 3= ν 2> ν 1

Sudden Expansion Heat Transfer from

(Isentropic) surroundings at T1

1. Ensure that both rigid vessels are at atmospheric pressure;
2. Turn on the Data Acquisition System and start the data logging software to record pressure, P,
and temperature, T, of the large cylinder;
3. Set the regulator to 5 psig and pressurize the left tank;
4. Monitor the pressure inside the tank until it has stabilized and then close the inlet valve;
5. Expand the gas rapidly by opening the solenoid valve to the atmosphere;
6. Monitor the pressure until it has stabilized once more (the stabilized value is );
7. Save your data;
8. Repeat the process for 10, 25, and 80 Psig for the left tank and 5, 10 and 20 in. Hg. for the right

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MIE 210: Thermodynamics
Laboratory 5 - Entropy

From state 1 to state 2 the gas is expanded isentropically, therefore, ,

Since the , and ,

Rearranging and substituting,


1. What was the expected value for k? How did your experimental values compare with this value?
NOTE: The process is assumed to be isentropic, show that the change in entropy of the system is
negligible using the equations for entropy change of an ideal gas. Also, if there is a change in
entropy, compare the constant specific heat analysis (approximate analysis) with the variable
specific heat analysis (exact analysis).
2. For the sudden-expansion experiments:
a. For a representative set of your data (states 1-2-3), plot the process identifying states 1,
2 and 3, on a P-v diagram.
b. What would have happened if the air were released very slowly to the same final
pressure (P3)? Add the corresponding process line to the plot. What is the relation for
that line (i.e. P (V))?
3. For the sudden-compression experiments: Discuss temperature measurement in a perfect
vacuum. What temperature would have been measured by the sensor if the vessel was at zero
absolute pressure?

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MIE 210: Thermodynamics
Laboratory 5 - Entropy

Part 2: Entropy Generation

In this section of the lab we will be looking at entropy generation due to the heat transfer process. If
we consider our system as consisting of the heated left tank and the surrounding air, the heated air in
the tank can be considered a thermal reservoir which is a source of heat and the surrounding air as a
thermal reservoir which is a sink of heat. Therefore our system consists of two components which are
both thermal reservoirs. The constant heat loss from the tank and the constant heat gain by the air is
accompanied by a constant change in entropy of the two components as given by the following:

Where is the rate of change of entropy, is the rate of heat transfer and is the temperature
of the sink or source. Note that the rate of change of entropy is negative for the source and positive for
the sink which is identical to the direction of heat transfer. The total rate of entropy generated in the
system will be the sum of the rate of change of entropy of the sink and source as given by:

1. Pressurize the left tank to 40 psig;
2. Set the temperature controller to 40°C and turn on the heaters to hold this temperature;
3. Allow the tank temperature to reach the set value and stabilize;
4. Once the steady state is reached collect data for 1 minute;
5. Save you data;
6. Repeated the above steps for 50°C and 60°C;
7. Cool the system.

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MIE 210: Thermodynamics
Laboratory 5 - Entropy

1. Calculate the rate of entropy generation in the entire system, tank and surroundings, for
each temperature.
a. Calculate the rate of heat transfer from the tank for each case;
b. Calculate rate of entropy change for sink and source based on temperatures of sink
and source respectively;
c. The sum of the rates of entropy change for each case is the rate of change of
entropy in the entire system.
d. Is the overall system entropy increasing or decreasing?

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