The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction
From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas or the cooling of a hot metal, to the unfolding of a thought in our minds and even the course of life itself, everything is governed by the four Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws specify the nature of 'energy' and 'temperature', and are soon revealed to reach out and define the arrow of time itself: why things change and why death must come. In this Very Short Introduction Peter Atkins explains the basis and deeper implications of each law, highlighting their relevance in everyday examples. Using the minimum of mathematics, he introduces concepts such as entropy, free energy, and to the brink and beyond of the absolute zero temperature. These are not merely abstract ideas: they govern our lives. In this concise and compelling introduction Atkins paints a lucid picture of the four elegant laws that, between them, drive the Universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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Chapter 2The first law The conservation of energy
Chapter 3The second law The increase in entropy
Chapter 4Free energy The availability of work
Chapter 5The third law The unattainability of zero
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absolute zero achieve adiabatic adiabatic demagnetization amount atoms Boltzmann distribution Boltzmann’s constant calculate Carnot change in entropy change in internal classical thermodynamics Clausius statements coefficient of performance cold sink combustion concept constant temperature constant volume corresponding decrease diathermic difference disorder efficiency electric electrons energy as heat energy levels energy released enthalpy everyday expansion expression external pressure flow Gibbs energy heat capacity heat engine heat pump heater Helmholtz energy higher energy hot source increase in entropy infinitesimally instance internal energy introduce joules Kelvin Kelvin’s statement law of thermodynamics liquid low temperatures lower measure mechanical equilibrium molecular interpretation molecules motion negative temperature observations piston populations reactants reaction refrigerator residual entropy reversible sample scale second law Short Introduction solid spins spontaneous change steam engine substance surroundings thermal equilibrium Thermodynamicists third law total energy total entropy transfer of energy transferred as heat universe vapour weight zeroth law