give three examples for open system,closed systemand isolated system

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valentin68 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Consider a gas in a metallic cylinder closed at one end. If the cylinder is open at the other end, the gas in cylinder is an example of an open system. This is because both matter and energy can be exchanged by the gas inside with the surrounding exterior.

Now, suppose you have the same cylinder with gas, but now the metallic cylinder is closed at both ends. Because the cylinder is now closed, there can be no mass exchange between the gas and the exterior but at the same time, because the cylinder is metallic, heating the exterior will heat the gas inside and change the gas internal energy causing its temperature to rise. (There is energy exchange with exterior). This is an example of a closed system.

Now, you have the same closed metallic cylinder but thermal isolated from the exterior. There is no mass exchanged with exterior and also no energy exchange with the exterior (the gas temperature can not change). This is an example of an isolated system.


In thermodynamics the parameters of a system that does not depend on the system size (like temperature T) are said to be intensive and the parametersthat depend on the system size (like mass m and volume V) are said to be extensive.

A system is said to be open if both its intensive and extensive parameters can vary (when interacting with exterior) and isolated if both its intensive and extensive parameters can not vary (when interacting with exterior). The system is closed if the intensive parameters can vary and the extensive parameters stay fixed (when interacting with exterior).