An isobaric process is a thermodynamic process, in which the pressure of the system remains constant (p = const). The heat transfer into or out of the system does work, but also changes the internal energy of the system.
Since there are changes in internal energy (dU) and changes in system volume (∆V), engineers often use the enthalpy of the system, which is defined as:
H = U + pV
Isobaric Process and the First Law
The classical form of the first law of thermodynamics is the following equation:
dU = dQ – dW
In this equation dW is equal to dW = pdV and is known as the boundary work. In an isobaric process and the ideal gas, part of heat added to the system will be used to do work and part of heat added will increase the internal energy (increase the temperature). Therefore it is convenient to use the enthalpy instead of the internal energy.
Isobaric process (Vdp = 0):
dH = dQ → Q = H2– H1
At constant entropy, i.e. in isentropic process, the enthalpy change equals the flow process work done on or by the system.
Isobaric Process of the Ideal Gas
The isobaric process can be expressed with the ideal gas law as:
On a p-V diagram, the process occurs along a horizontal line (called an isobar) that has the equation p = constant.
See also: Charles’s Law