SAT Subject Physics Practice Question 537: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 537


The idealized P-V diagram above shows a complete cycle through compression and expansion of a gas. The questions below relate to the processes within the cycle.

Which letter shows work done?

A. A
B. B
C. C
D. D
E. E

Correct Answer: E


The correct answer is (E). The work done by a heat engine is the area under the pressure-volume curve. The work done under the A part of the diagram is positive work, but the negative work done under the C part of the diagram must be subtracted, leaving the work as E.

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