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The portion of the total energy of a system that is available for conversion to useful work; in particular, the quantity of work that can be performed by a fluid relative to a reference condition, usually the surrounding ambient condition.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a term used in thermodynamics to designate the maximum work a system can perform on moving from a given state to equilibrium with its surroundings. The work done by a system in a particular thermodynamic process is maximal only if the process is an equilibrium process.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.