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is the first law of thermodynamics different for a chemical engineering thermodynamics class? i read the syllabus for a chemical engineering thermodynamics course, and it seemed to focus more on chemical reactions...

The first law of thermodynamics
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The first law should be the same. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. However, you can express that law using different terms-- this might be the confusion. Here: "A way of expressing this law that is generally more useful in Chemistry is that any change in the internal energy of a system is given by the sum of the heat q that flows across its boundaries and the work w done on the system by the surroundings." (from http://www.chem1.com/acad/webtext/energetics/CE-2.html) You might see other equations that are dEtot=Q+W which is a more general form of the equation.
only difference is that is the sign convention of the work done , in general in physics and mechanical engineering work done by the system is taken positive and vice versa but in chemistry taken as negative as it is going to decrease the internal energy of the system

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