A process carried out without heat being exchanged or lost. For instance, a hot gas in a automobile cylinder expands and does work on the piston. The gas becomes cooler because of its expansion, but no heat has entered or left the system. If the piston were pushed down, compressing the gas, it would attain its original temperature. In a car engine, the process is adiabatic because the process occurs quickly enough that no significan heat can enter or escape. Adiabatic processes also occur when the systems are so large (like the weather) that no signican heat loss or gain can occur.
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