Thermodynamic Degrees of Freedom

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Thermodynamic Degrees of Freedom

 

independent variables that determine the state of a thermodynamic system.

In the absence of external fields of force—for example, electric or magnetic fields—gases, liquids, and isotropic solids usually have two thermodynamic degrees of freedom. Temperature and volume are often chosen as the independent variables defining the state. If the independent variables are kept within certain specified limits, no phases (parts of the system with new properties) will form or disappear in the system. For example, the temperature (of water may be varied within the limits 0°C < t < 100°C at normal pressure without initiating a transition to the solid or gaseous state.

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