Custom «The Laws of Thermodynamics» Essay Paper Sample

The Laws of Thermodynamics


This writing assignment explains some essential ideas about the Laws of Thermodynamics and how oranges exist given the Law of Thermodynamics, along with ideas of entropy.

Oranges are considered structured because of the fact that entropy is an expression of the randomness or disorder as well as the energy from high temperature region to low temperature areas. Since orange molecules are not closed system and assuming that their entropy decreases, the energy flowing to the low temperature areas is able to make oranges to exist since the entropy is decreasing for those molecules hence the disorder is decreasing so the molecules can pull together or stay together.

Energy is and can be defined as the ability to do work while thermodynamics is bringing about change in the study of energy. Energy usually exists in many forms, such as light, heat, electrical energy and chemical energy.

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Paul Davies, a well-known and popular author in this case gives his views on the Laws of thermodynamics as, "The second law of thermodynamics is often phrased by saying that every closed system tends towards a state of total disorder or chaos. One measure of the remorseless rise of chaos uses a quantity called 'entropy,' which is defined to be the degree of disorder in a system. The second law then states that in a closed system, the total entropy can never decrease and at best it mostly remains the same. Almost all natural changes tend to increase the entropy, and we usually see the second law of thermodynamics at work all around us in nature. One of the most conspicuous and clearly visible examples is in the way that the sun slowly burns up its nuclear fuel, spewing heat and light in an irretrievable way into the depths of space and raising the entropy of the cosmos with each liberated photon. Eventually the sun will run out of fuel and cease to shine. The same slow degeneration afflicts all the stars in the universe. In the mid-nineteenth century, this dismal fate came to be known as the 'cosmic heat death." [Davies, In About Time p. 34]

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However, when we read through and look at the laws and the actual existence of matter and in our paper the orange, we find some huge contradiction. We will see this by first looking into the laws.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can be changed from one form to another but it cannot be created nor destroyed. The total amount of matter and energy in the Universe usually remains constant and merely changes from one form to another. The First Law of Thermodynamics also called the law of conservation and it states that energy is always conserved butt it can neither be created nor destroyed. In this regard, energy can easily be converted from one form into another.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that in all energy exchanges, when there is no energy entering or leaving the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state. This is also commonly referred to as entropy. Once the potential energy locked in, carbohydrates are converted into kinetic energy which is energy in use or motion and the organism will get no more until energy is input again. In the process of energy transfer, some energy will dissipate as heat. Entropy is a measure of disorder and since cells are not disordered and they usually have low entropy. The flow of energy maintains order and life. Entropy wins when organisms cease to take in the energy and eventually die.

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Thus the term "Entropy" can be defined as a measure of unusable energy within a closed or isolated system such as the universe. As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, "entropy" increases. Entropy is also a gauge of randomness or chaos within a closed system. As usable energy is irretrievably lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase. In regard to the orange, it has fewer types of entropy because it appears to be very ordered and since it is in-taking all the external energies from the universe, which is a closed system (and since entropies increases or remain the same), we see the contradiction in the laws of thermodynamics and actual existence of i.e. in the orange case. This is because the process of the growth of this orange actually increases entropies.

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The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the universal principle of decay observable in nature. The second law is an observation of the fact that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential tend to even out in a physical system that is isolated from the outside world. Entropy is a measure of how much this process has progressed. The entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to they all have increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.

In classical thermodynamics, the second law is a basic postulate applicable to any system involving heat energy transfer; in statistical thermodynamics, the second law is a consequence of the assumed randomness of molecular chaos. There are many versions of the second law, but the same effect, which is to explain the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature.

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Potential energy, as the name implies, is energy that has not yet been used, thus the term potential. Kinetic energy is energy in use or in motion. In the hydrologic cycle, the sun is the ultimate source of energy, evaporating water (in a fashion raising its potential energy above water in the ocean). When water starts falling down as rain it begins to run downhill toward sea-level. As the water gets closer to sea-level, its potential energy is decreased. So without the sun, water would still reach sea-level but would never be evaporated to recharge the cycle. Water is an essential need for all living things which include plants to manufacture and processes their food.

Chemicals may also be considered from a potential energy or kinetic energy standpoint. One pound of sugar has a certain potential energy. If that pound of sugar is burned the energy is released all at once. The energy released is kinetic energy heat. So much is released that organisms would burn up if all the energy was released at once. Organisms must release the energy a little bit at a time.

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Similarly, according to Brian Greene he emphasizes on the study of entropy as it is a measure of the amount of disorder in a physical system. Secondly, in physical systems with many constituents, there is a natural evolution toward greater disorder since disorder can be achieved in so many more ways than order. In the language of entropy, this is the statement that physical systems tend to evolve toward states of higher entropy. (Green, In The Fabric of the Cosmos, p. 154)

Energy can be defined as the ability to do work. Cells convert potential energy, usually in the form of C-C covalent bonds into kinetic energy so as to accomplish cell division, biosynthesis, growth and active transport among many other things. Therefore, for an orange tree to grow to its fullness and be able to produce its fruits, the energy processes would be involved in the development of that plant. Also for it to grow healthy it requires applying of fertilizer which is a chemical energy being converted to potential energy.

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Energy has often been called the currency of life. This is because it flows through the earth's processes creating wind, providing light, and enabling plants to create food from water and air (carbon dioxide). Humans have interfered and tapped into this flow to generate electricity, heat for their homes and fuel for their cars. It is worth noting that the sun provides the earth with most of its energy. It is important for one to recognize and appreciate this source of energy and to explore the transformations that bring the sun's light into their home in the form of light, heat, food, and fuel. We are fortunate to have many "concentrated" sources of energy. Besides the sun, there is chemical energy which can be found in fossil fuels such as oil and coal in nuclear resources.

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While the amount of energy in the world remains constant as we are using it by transferring it from one form to another, it usually with time becomes spread out and less useful.  Energy also gives us the ability to do actions like work. Through good education and becoming aware of what energy is and how we use it, we can learn to use our concentrated resources more wisely and ensure that they will be available for the future generations to come.

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