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ERIC Number: EJ1115437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The Law of Entropy Increase--A Lab Experiment
Dittrich, William; Drosd, Robert; Minkin, Leonid; Shapovalov, Alexander S.
Physics Teacher, v54 n6 p348-350 Sep 2016
The second law of thermodynamics has various formulations. There is the "Clausius formulation," which can be stated in a very intuitive way: "No process is possible whose sole result is the transfer of heat from a cooler to a hotter body." There is also the "Kelvin-Plank principle," which states that "no cyclic process exists whose sole result is the absorption of heat from a reservoir and the conversion of all this heat into work" [emphasis added] (since this would require perfect energy conversion efficiency). Both these statements can be presented to physics students in a conceptual manner, and students' "everyday" experiences will support either statement of the second law of thermodynamics. However, when the second law of thermodynamics is expressed using the concept of entropy (?S = 0, for a closed system), most first-year physics students lack any direct experimental experience with this parameter. This paper describes a calculation of the increase in entropy that can be performed while completing three traditional thermodynamics experiments. These simple and quick calculations help students become familiar and comfortable with the concept of entropy. This paper is complementary to prior work where classroom activities were developed to provide insight into the statistical nature of entropy.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A