Given that the equation for the first law of thermodynamics:
$$Q - W = \Delta E$$
It is known that $\Delta E$ is equal to the change in internal energy, kinetic energy, and potential energy. and that $Q$ is the total heat transfer and $W$ is the work transfer.
I'm kind off confused when analyzing systems using the said equation. So here are some questions I had in mind.
It was discussed to me that when analyzing a closed system $\Delta E$ is always zero since there would be no change in the total energy of the system. Is this always true?
In analyzing open steady systems, it is said that the change in kinetic energy and potential energy is always zero but the change in internal energy may not be zero in certain situations. That said, when will we know when the change in internal energy changes? Is it changed when the system changes pressure or volume or temperature?
There is also another form of Total energy in the system called mechanical energy, When will we know what to use in analyzing systems? Is it the formula for mechanical energy or the formula for energy in terms of internal, potential, and kinetic energy?
Also, there is also an alternative equation considering the flow rates of the system. When will we know when to use the regular equation and the one using the flow rates?