Using a Maxwell Relation to Make an Entropy Change


For this lesson, students should:

  • Know what a state function is and what makes it a state function.
  • Know the first and second thermodynamic laws as well as the thermodynamic identity.
  • Be comfortable with manipulating mixed partial derivatives and Maxwell Relations.

In-class Content


Lab: Rubber Band

Link to Rubber Band Lab

Activity Highlights

  1. This integrated laboratory activity is designed to help students appreciate how Maxwell relations can be applied.
  2. Students measure the tension in a rubber band as a function of both temperature and length.
  3. In the lab write-up, students analyze their data using a Maxwell relation, the First Law, and the definition of work to find the change in internal energy, entropy and free energy for an isothermal stretch.

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