Problem: A piston has an external pressure of 11.0 atm. How much work has been done in joules if the cylinder goes from a volume of 0.180 liters to 0.480 liters?Express your answer with the appropriate units.The joule (J) is a unit of energy. Recall that energy may be converted between many different forms such as mechanical energy, thermal energy (heat), chemical energy, electrical energy, and light.The mechanical energy produced by a system is called work. When work is accomplished through the changing volume of a gas, it is called PV work and is given by the formula w = − PΔV, where w is the work, P is the external pressure, and ΔV is the change in volume.If the volume change and pressure are in liters and atmospheres respectively, then the work will have units of liter-atmospheres, which can be converted to joules using the conversion factor 1 L ⋅ atm = 101.3 J.Work can also be expressed as force multiplied by distance: w = F × d, where w is the work in joules, F is the force in newtons, and d is the distance in meters. Note that 1 N ⋅ m = 1 J.

FREE Expert Solution
82% (116 ratings)
Problem Details

A piston has an external pressure of 11.0 atm. How much work has been done in joules if the cylinder goes from a volume of 0.180 liters to 0.480 liters?

Express your answer with the appropriate units.


The joule (J) is a unit of energy. Recall that energy may be converted between many different forms such as mechanical energy, thermal energy (heat), chemical energy, electrical energy, and light.

The mechanical energy produced by a system is called work. When work is accomplished through the changing volume of a gas, it is called PV work and is given by the formula w = − PΔV, where w is the work, P is the external pressure, and ΔV is the change in volume.

If the volume change and pressure are in liters and atmospheres respectively, then the work will have units of liter-atmospheres, which can be converted to joules using the conversion factor 1 L ⋅ atm = 101.3 J.

Work can also be expressed as force multiplied by distance: w = F × d, where w is the work in joules, F is the force in newtons, and d is the distance in meters. Note that 1 N ⋅ m = 1 J.

Frequently Asked Questions

What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Internal Energy concept. You can view video lessons to learn Internal Energy. Or if you need more Internal Energy practice, you can also practice Internal Energy practice problems.