Interactive Self-Study Module: Introduction to First Law of Thermodynamics - Closed Systems


This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain the first law of thermodynamics for a closed system. It then provides example problems to allow the user to test themselves. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in screencasts, and questions to answer before using the interactive simulation, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulation.
  2. Watch the screencasts that provide an introduction to energy balances and apply the first law to a closed system and answer the questions within the screencasts.
  3. Review important equations for this topic.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the first law for closed systems.
  5. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  6. Answer the ConcepTests.
  7. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • Energy balances are critical in most chemical processes. 
  • This module is intended for a material and energy balances course.
Before studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Apply the ideal gas law.
  • Calculate energy changes for an ideal gas.
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Perform energy balances around a closed system.
  • Simplify energy balance for a closed system to remove terms that are not important.
  • Determine final states of various processes (e.g., constant pressure, adiabatic, constant volume, and constant temperature).