Adiabatic process

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An adiabatic process is one that occurs without transfer of heat or matter between a thermodynamic system and its surroundings. In an adiabatic process, energy is transferred only as work. The adiabatic process provides a rigorous conceptual basis for the theory used to expound the first law of thermodynamics, and as such it is a key concept in thermodynamics.

Some chemical and physical processes occur so rapidly that they may be conveniently described by the "adiabatic approximation", meaning that there is not enough time for the transfer of energy as heat to take place to or from the system.

By way of example, the adiabatic flame temperature is an idealization that uses the "adiabatic approximation" so as to provide an upper limit calculation of temperatures produced by combustion of a fuel. The adiabatic flame temperature is the temperature that would be achieved by a flame if the process of combustion took place in the absence of heat loss to the surroundings.

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