4 Best Examples of Open System in Thermodynamics


There are so many systems that are needed to study thermodynamics. Today I explain Open System in Thermodynamics. A system implies simply the collection of matter. Which wants to be studied in thermodynamics. That may be the water in a pipe, engine oil in the engine, open container and liquid in a heat exchanger, etc.

It is a collection of molecules, atoms, and other particles. Which we are going to study thermodynamics. 

Before discussing all things about Open Systems in Thermodynamics. First, know what is Thermodynamic system?

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Thermodynamic System :

A system is that space, region, and body where we measure the properties. Where thermodynamics processes happened.That space, region, and body are known as a system.

We can specify the thermodynamic system as the space, region, and quantity of matter. Which we study in thermodynamics.

  • This quantity is measurable (in kg)
  • We can calculate the property of thermodynamic parameters.
  • The process is learn as a thermodynamic process.

Let us clarify the thermodynamic system :

There are three systems in thermodynamics:

Open System in Thermodynamics
Image Credit – Alkh.Alwa

Open System :

It exchanges both matter and energy. That is present with its surroundings. The stovetop is an example of an open system. Because heat and water vapor are always lost to the air.

Closed System :

It exchanges only energy with its surroundings. But not matter exchange. If we set an extremely tight-fitting lid on the pot, it will compare with a closed system.

Isolated System :

It can’t exchange energy and matter with its surroundings. An insulated drink cooler with a lid is an example of an isolated system. The items inside can deal energy with one another. So the drinks get cold, and thus the ice melts a touch. They exchange little and no energy with the outside environment.

Now discuss what is an Open System in Thermodynamics?

Open System in Thermodynamics :

Open System in Thermodynamics
Image Credit – Krauss

It may be a system that has external interactions. Such interactions can take the shape of data, energy, and material transfers. The concept defines the system boundary, counting on the discipline. An open system is differentiated from the theory of an isolated system. It exchanges neither energy and not matter information with its environment. An Open System in Thermodynamics is also related to a flow system.

For an example of an Open System in Thermodynamics, the earth can be recognized as an open system. In this case, the world is the system, and space is the surrounding. Sunlight can touch the world’s surface. That we can send rockets to space. Sunlight and rocket are often clarified as energy and matter, respectively.

The exchange of matter happens easily between the open system and the surrounding. It is easily explained by adding matter or removing matter. But energy exchange maybe a little more complicated. Because energy is always exchanged in various forms. It various conversions may happen during this exchange. The energy is exchanged as heat and the other form.

The energy exchange is defined by Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, and thermal energy. The potential energy is stored energy.  The kinetic energy carries energy by an object while moving. The energy of a system constantly exists in one of these three states or two states. It is held at an equal time. For example, an object can exchange heat with the encompassing. Then it’s both Potential energy and thermal energy. Energy is always exchanged or transferred as Potential Energy or Kinetic Energy. But occasionally, Potential Energy is always converted into Kinetic Energy. The thermal energy or heat is both exchanged between open systems and surroundings.

 The internal mass of an open system differs with time. It is held due to the capacity to exchange matter between an open system and surroundings. If the matter is expanded, then an improvement in the mass can be found. If the matter is eliminated, then then it decreases mass first.

An Open System in Thermodynamics for the First Law of Thermodynamics:

It contracts with the full amount of energy within the universe. Mainly, it declares that this total amount doesn’t change. The primary Law of Thermodynamics declares that energy can’t be built or destroyed. It can change only shape. It altered from one object to a different object.

This law could come across as quite abstract. But if we see examples we will expose that. It transfers and transformations of energy happen around us all the time. 


  • Electric bulbs convert electricity into light energy.
  • If one ball hits another it transfers Kinetic energy and makes the second ball move.
  • Plants renovate the energy of sunlight into energy stored in organic molecules.

4 Best examples of an Open System in Thermodynamics :

Boiling Water


Bring some water in an open container and warm it. You will see the water is warming and steam is coming out from the container and distributed to the air.


  • There is some water in the container. During warming, you will notice water vapor is coming out from the container. Thus, the mass transfer out from the system. So, we can tell it is an example of mass interaction.
  • Here, we are putting in heat energy which converts water to vapor. Thus, the expansion of heat means energy interaction into the system.
  • Thus, the energy and mass transfer did between container and surrounding.


Open System in Thermodynamics
Air Compressor


The 2nd example is a compressor. Everyone knows, the compressor compresses the air in it. It transmitted compressed air.


  • The compressor smells normal air with normal temperature and pressure. It transmits hot and pressurized air. Here, the air comes into the compressor. It goes out from the compressor. We can say, a certain amount of mass air got interaction. Thus, it is an example of mass interaction.
  • When the compressor rotates, there will be a difference in energy. We have noticed the pressure and temperature are increased.  The compressor impeller rotates. So mechanical energy is switched to the air. It converts mechanical energy into kinetic energy as well as pressure energy.
  • Thus the energy and mass transfer did between system and surrounding.
  • So it is a whole concept of an Open System in Thermodynamics.


Open System in Thermodynamics

Here putting some oil in the engine and generates power. It is modified to mechanical energy.

  • Internal engines
  • Water pumps
  • Steam engine
  • Air compressors
  • Boilers
  • Turbines


If anyone pours tea in a cup, it will be working as an open system.

Some differences between an Open System in Thermodynamics and a Closed System in Thermodynamics :

Open System :

  • It is a type of thermodynamic system. In an Open System in Thermodynamics, the energy and matter are always exchanged with its surrounding.
  •  The Open System in Thermodynamics can exchange matter with the surrounding.
  • The mass of the system will differ with time in an open system.
  • The open systems have boundaries. Those are not closed.

Closed System :

  • It is a type of thermodynamic system.  In a closed system, the energy only can be exchanged with its surrounding. But not matter exchanged.
  •  The closed system cannot exchange matter with the surrounding.
  • The mass of the system is constant in a closed system.
  • The closed systems have boundaries. That is closed.

Conclusion of Open System in Thermodynamics:

The interactions between systems and surroundings can be found everywhere in the climate. The systems are divided into opened, closed, or isolated systems. I explain the mainly Open System in Thermodynamics in this article. I explain some differences between open and closed systems. I suppose this is helpful for you.

Thank You

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