During our lecture on physical chemistry at university, we only talked about work in the context of volume work done by an ideal gas against a surrounding constant pressure.
(1)Let me explain. An ideal gas is located inside a container, one of the walls is a movable piston (massless). Initially, both outside pressure and gas pressure are at equilibrium, when we heat the gas, it expands against the piston, that means work done against the outside pressure, until equilibrium is reached again.
(2)But what happens if we let two ideal gases mix?
Suppose that inside an adiabatic container of distinct volume, an adiabatic wall is separating two portions of the container’s volume, each filled with one mole of ideal gas. One gas is in state 1 (p₁, T₁, V₁), the other in state 2 (p₂, T₂, V₂), and p₁>p₂; T₁>T₂; V₁>V₂.
If we remove the wall, surely the higher pressure gas in the bigger part of the container moves into the other part, moving the lower pressure gas. But is work done here?
While researching, I found an answer which indicated that work isn’t done here like in example (1) although there is a pressure difference; that is because the ideal gases fill no volume by themselves so the two gases are basically expanding freely doing no work at all.
Is that true? And if not, how can we calculate the work done here? I know, that two gases at the same pressure don’t do work on each other though (called free mixing).
Thanks in advance.