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Laws of Thermodynamics - Conceptual Explanations

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Explain the important laws of thermodynamics and their physical aspects.

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Laws of thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is the division of physics concerned with the inter conversion of heat, work and other forms of energy and with the states of physical systems.

In thermodynamics, the system is any defined collection of matter. A closed system is one that cannot exchange matter with its surroundings. An isolated system can exchange neither matter nor energy. A system in stable equilibrium is said to be in an equilibrium state and has an equation of state (eg. the gas law) relating its properties.

The zero law of thermodynamics states that if two systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third system, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other. Thus this law gives an operational definition of temperature.

The temperature of a closed system is the property that determines whether or not the system is in thermal equilibrium from one state to another with its surroundings.

The first law of thermodynamics states that for all processes linking to two equilibrium states of a system, its internal energy U changes according ...

Solution Summary

This answer includes the description of the laws of thermodynamics. It is expected that this more than 700 words text will help students understand the concepts of thermodynamics and its laws.

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Biological Evolution and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Some people claim that biological evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, since evolution involves simple life forms developing into more complex, more highly ordered organisms. Why is this argument wrong?

I'm pretty sure that the answer lies in the definition of entropy. Doesn't entropy limit itself to energy, not organization? I may be able to do the formulas, but I lack a solid conceptual understanding of entropy and the 2nd law.

Thanks for your help

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