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ERIC Number: EJ901508
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Statistical Mechanics of Entropic Forces: Disassembling a Toy
Sokolov, Igor M.
European Journal of Physics, v31 n6 p1353-1367 Nov 2010
The notion of entropic forces often stays mysterious to students, especially to ones coming from outside physics. Although thermodynamics works perfectly in all cases when the notion of entropic force is used, no effort is typically made to explain the mechanical nature of the forces. In this paper we discuss the nature of entropic forces as conditional means of constraint forces in systems where interactions are taken into account as mechanical constraints and discuss several examples of such forces. We moreover demonstrate how these forces appear within the standard formalism of statistical thermodynamics and within the mechanical approach based on the Pope-Ching equation, making evident their connection with the equipartition of energy. The paper is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students studying statistical physics and the teachers teaching it. (Contains 3 figures and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A