enthalpy en·thal·py (ěn'thāl'pē, ěn-thāl'-)
A thermodynamic function of a system, equivalent to the sum of the internal energy of the system plus the product of its volume multiplied by the pressure exerted on it by its surroundings.
|enthalpy (ěn'thāl'pē) Pronunciation Key
A partial measure of the internal energy of a system. Enthalpy cannot be directly measured, but changes in it can be. If an outside pressure on a system is held constant, a change in enthalpy entails a change in the system's internal energy, plus a change in the system's volume (meaning the system exchanges energy with the outside world). For example, in endothermic chemical reactions, the change in enthalpy is the amount of energy absorbed by the reaction; in exothermic reactions, it is the amount given off. See also thermodynamics.