Examples of thermodynamics

The Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that studies the relationship between work and heat . This science bases its study on extensive variables (entropy, internal energy or volume) and non-extensive variables (temperature, pressure, chemical potential, etc.).

The object of study in thermodynamics can be a liquid, a material or a set of bodies. Each of these has particles that move randomly, thermodynamics studies that movement.

What do you study?

Through the scientific method and deductive reasoning , this discipline can describe the different physical phenomena that can exist in a body or material.

Within a thermodynamic system, that is, a material and its environment variables as an object of study, this discipline expresses the internal energy and thermodynamic potentials of such a system. This establishes the conditions of equilibrium between systems, spontaneous processes and the exchange of energy with their environment.

To carry out a complete study, the following factors must be taken into account:

  • The laws of thermodynamics , which describe how energy can be exchanged between physical systems in the form of heat or work.
  • The entropy , defining the clutter that the particles move within a material or body. In other words, it studies the kinetic energy of the particles that make up a body. It is an applicable quantity for any system.
  • The enthalpy is a state function of the physical system. Define that the amount of heat provided to a system is used to increase enthalpy and do external work.

Laws of thermodynamics

They are four universally valid laws when applied to thermodynamic systems. Many years ago these were just principles, but then they became laws.

Not all books are written in the same way, but in essence all expressions say the same:

    • Zero law : “if two thermodynamic systems that are in thermal equilibrium with a third, they are also in equilibrium with each other.”
    • First law of thermodynamics or law of conservation of energy : “The total energy of an isolated system is neither created nor destroyed, it remains constant.”
    • The Second Law defines that the amount of entropy in the universe tends to increase. In addition, it describes that there is no 100% efficiency of a heat engine and that not all thermodynamic processes are reversible.
    • The third law defines that it is impossible to reach a temperature equal to absolute zero (0 kelvin).

Examples of thermodynamics

These are some examples of uses that different studies and results have in thermodynamics in our daily lives.

  • In food . The kitchen and the heat that transforms food through thermodynamic processes.
  • Materials science . When new types of materials are obtained by thermal processes.
  • Industrial applications. An example is the ceramic industry, where large tunnel kilns heat bricks to temperatures above 800 degrees Celsius to create such a product.
  • Architecture . In this field it is important to know the thermal changes between the exterior and the interior of a structure. Especially in bioclimatic architecture, passive solar energy will be the key to creating functional and environmentally friendly spaces.
  • Generation of electricity. In all thermal power plants that use fossil fuels, nuclear energy or solar energy, these studies are applied to obtain movements in steam turbines and electrical generators, which will later be transformed into electrical energy.

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