Exergy is a system thermodynamic property defined only with respect to the system’s surroundings. For a specified system state, exergy is the maximum potential useful work available from the system as it achieves equilibrium with the surroundings. For students exergy can be a very abstract concept. This paper presents a graphical means to clarify the concept of exergy for a closed system, demonstrating exergy at any state i corresponds to the sum of the net work of a power cycle that incorporates a process from system state i to the dead state and the net work of a refrigeration/heat pump cycle required to move the system from the dead state to state i.

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