7 Closed System Example: Detailed Facts and FAQs

Closed system examples are found in day to day activities. When the system exchanges only energy any type of matter with the surroundings is considered to be a closed system.

There can be several closed system examples taken from the reality of our lives. When a system only transfers energy with the surrounding it is put in and not any matter is regarded to be the closed system.We shall discuss few closed system examples to understand the concept in a better way.


Earth is one of the major closed system example. A closed system is one in which energy alone is transferred and not any type of matter.

Earth is considered to be the best example for a closed system is that it only transfers energy ad not matter around its atmosphere. And it’s a natural process that is happening in and around the earth’s surrounding.

To explain how earth is regarded as a closed system we shall understand it better using a real life example. Consider a box fully covered and leave it in a room. When the temperature of the room goes up high the temperature inside the box rises too.

So the reason behind the rise in temperature inside the box is a clear closed system example. Simply because there is only change in temperature but no transfer of matter occurs in this case.

From this simple example we can know how the transfer of energy works for earth and its surroundings. When the sun radiates light also mainly energy it will enter the earth but the matter inside the earth does not change and remains constant.

We know that as long as the mass, weight, and space as long as it obeys the physical laws of the earth. It is been said that earth is an open system but it can be either open or closed according to the conditions that has been considered.

Bomb Calorimeter

The bomb calorimeter is regarded as an object that is used to measure the heat out of combustion during a reaction. It is actually a constant volume calorimeter.

So this bomb calorimeter is regarded to be the closed system because of the exchange of heat energy in and out of the calorimeter. Calorimeter is basically the object which is used to measure the heat during physical and chemical reactions.

Bomb calorimeter is sometimes compared with the coffee cup also. There is something called coffee cup calorimeter which is used to measure the heat in a mixture where a thermometer is used in order to convert it to an isolated system.

This process is carried only because to get an accurate value for the heat exchanged between the system and the surroundings. In the reaction mixture if the heat generated in that mixture escapes in some way or the other then we call it an open system.

Coffee cup with lid on it is mainly considered to be the closed system. The reason is when the coffee is hot and a lid is put over it the temperature is still hot for a long time. It is considered one such because of the circumstances.

Water Bottle

When we talk about the water bottle we generally are considering the bottle to be made up of metal. Metal water bottles are wide spread as a closed system example.

We use the metal water bottle because the make it the metal one and it will not allow any matter to be exchanged between the system and the surroundings. So metal water bottle are been used in several industries in order to save the matter being transferred.

The metal water bottle exchanges only the heat energy form the surrounding and not the matter inside the bottle. This is considered to be the example for closed system as it can only transfer and exchange energy from the surroundings provided it is sealed.

A closed system is one which has boundary in order to save the matter being lost to the surroundings. So the water bottle is a good example for a closed system because it has a boundary meaning a lid respectively.

Hence the boundary that is the lid will absorb energy form the surrounding and will allow only the energy form inside to escape to the same boundary as well. So there is no loss of matter even the reaction is a chemical or physical reaction.

Ice Pack

Ice packs are usually the ones which come into use during an injury and to reduce the temperature in the body. It absorbs the extreme heat form the body to the pack.

Closed system example holds ice pack as one such where it describes and justifies the actual conditions of a closed system. Also these are the most essential when it comes to sports. When a play is injured the ice packs come to use instantly.

We call it a closed system as it only exchanges energy with surroundings because the matter remains a constant throughout. When exposed to high temperatures the ice will melt but will not be exchanged with the surroundings.

The melted ice when kept in freezer will immediately go back to the solid form that is, the ice. In this way matter only changes form one form to another but does not get exchanged and no quantity of matter is been lost.

In ice packs there are energy consuming molecules that will absorb energy form the surroundings and be of to use. By doing work the energy is also released into the surroundings as such and this is comes under the concept of a closed system.


Refrigerator is a device that will cool substances when kept inside it. So the main reason it comes under a closed system is that it will circulate the air from surroundings.

The air inside the refrigerator will keep recirculating within then definitely is one of the good examples of closed systems. There is a motor and compressor in the refrigerator that is connected to a shaft within. 

Actually there is an are in the refrigerator where is will absorb energy from the surrounding and will convert that into the cool air sending it inside keeping the area inside the fridge very cool all the time. Because there is a continuous process running inside to keep the conditions of the closed system at sane.

Basically what happens in the refrigerator is that it will remove heat from the substance or space keeping it below temperature levels always. A refrigerant will be in the saturated vapour state form which it will enter the compressor.

This compressor creates and pressure on the vapour that is absorbed and the motor will aid in running this process. The shaft that connects both the compressor and the motor will run continuously.

Form this we can understand that only air is being absorbed compressed and sent inside as cool air. But the matter remains a constant wen the energy alone is being exchanged between the surrounding and the system.


Battery is a device which allows the energy to pass and leave the system whenever in need. This shows that it is one of the major closed system example.

Depending on the conditions that prevail for the batteries it acts as closed and isolated system. Mainly when there are certain batteries in which the charge does not die out are regarded to be the isolated system.

When the charge die out slowly then it is categorised under the closed system example. We need to consider the charge of the battery system only then it is possible to categorise it as closed or isolated system.

Battery is a system that allows the energy to enter and leave the system whenever charged. So there is only transfer of energy and no matter is been lost in this process. Technically there nothing named as isolated system.

It is either closed or open system that exists. But the science experiments carried out in laboratories has possibilities of being an isolated under the conditions designed specifically for that alone.

In lithium battery there is an electrolyte that helps conducting the transfer of charges form positive end to the negative end. Also one main reason for using lithium in batteries is that it has the capabilities to lose the electron from its outermost shell.

“batteries” by scalespeeder is licensed under CC BY 2.0

IC Engine

It is a known fact that all kinds of vehicles, boats and any other motors that uses engine to kick start the ignition uses the internal combustion engine (IC engine) for a smooth run.

The IC engine is a closed system because it exchanges heat energy in and around the vehicles. The combustion chamber has this IC engine an integral part of it only to ignite the fuel to start the vehicle.

Here the process occurs in such a way that it uses heat energy to ignite the fuel in order to move the vehicle so we come to an understanding meaning to say it is a closed system only and no matter is being lost in the process.

The main use of IC engine is that there is combustion system attached to the system itself and separate system is not required to ignite the fuel. Since only energy is being transferred and exchanged within and out of the system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is universe an open or closed system?

Universe is a closed system as far as science is considered, because it does not attract anything in terms of matter.

Universe being a closed system it will only attract and release energy with the surroundings. If only the universe attracts matter form the surrounding the whole solar system would have a change within and outside each planet.

What does an open system mean?

An open system is one such where the energy as well matter is being exchanged with the surroundings.

In an open system the matter also gets exchanged along with the energy. For example a coffee cup where the hot coffee is no hotter when there is no lid present. Because the temperature is being released to the surrounding and even the gases present in the coffee is being lost meaning the matter is also exchanged.

Is human body an open or closed system?

Human body is clearly an open system because it not only exchanges energy but also matter with the surroundings.

The human body is system which usually exchanges energy with the surroundings and when the matter is exchanged it occurs with food, air and gases as well.so in general it is considered to be an open system also corresponds to the law of thermodynamics.

In vehicles mainly in car, can the radiator be closed or an open system?

The radiator is a system that cools the car’s engine allowing air to pass within when highly heated, so it is considered to the open system.

Basically what happens in a radiator is that it will allow a mass of air to pass through it which is a hot air it will convert it to cool and send it out keeping he engine intact. So when air is passed through it means the matter is being involved in the process. When matter is being a part of the exchange it is an open system.

Keerthana Srikumar

Hi...I am Keerthana Srikumar, currently pursuing Ph.D. in Physics and my area of specialization is nano-science. I completed my Bachelor's and Master's from Stella Maris College and Loyola College respectively. I have a keen interest in exploring my research skills and also have the ability to explain Physics topics in a simpler manner. Apart from academics I love to spend my time in music and reading books. Let's connect through LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/in/keerthana-s-91560920a/

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