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Throttling Process Thermodynamics

A throttling process is defined as a process in which there is no change in enthalpy from state one to state two, h1 = h2; no work is done, W = 0; and the process is adiabatic, Q = 0. To better understand the theory of the ideal throttling process lets compare what we can observe with the above theoretical assumptions. An example of a throttling process is an ideal gas flowing through a valve in mid position.

From experience we can observe that: Pin > Pout, velin < velout (where P = pressure and vel = velocity). These observations confirm the theory that hin = hout. Remember h = u + Pv (v = specific volume), so if pressure decreases then specific volume must increase if enthalpy is to remain constant (assuming u is constant). Because mass flow is constant, the change in specific volume is observed as an increase in gas velocity, and this is verified by our observations.

The theory also states W = 0. Our observations again confirm this to be true as clearly no "work" has been done by the throttling process. Finally, the theory states that an ideal throttling process is adiabatic. This cannot clearly be proven by observation since a "real" throttling process is not ideal and will have some heat transfer.

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