Covers the study of (mostly homogeneous) macroscopic systems from a heat/energy/entropy point of view. Maybe combine with [tag:statistical-mechanics].

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23
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7answers
2k views

How is $\frac{dQ}{T}$ measure of randomness of system?

I am studying entropy and its hard for me to catch up what exactly is entropy. Many articles and books write that entropy is the measure of randomness or disorder of the system. They say when a gas ...
35
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the minimum pressure of a medium for which a sound wave can exist?

At what pressure will be particles in a medium be unable to form a sound wave when disturbed? How can this pressure be described mathematically? My guess is that this would correspond to the point at ...
56
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it possible to start fire using moonlight?

You can start fire by focusing the sunlight using the magnifying glass. I searched the web whether you can do the same using moonlight. And found this and this - the first two in Google search ...
21
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3answers
684 views

Intuitive understanding of the entropy equation

In thermodynamics, entropy is defined as $ d S = \dfrac{\delta q_{\rm }}{T}$. This definition guarantees that heat will transfer from hot to cold, which is the second law of thermodynamics. But, why ...
9
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5answers
679 views

Intuitively, why is a reversible process one in which the system is always at equilibrium?

A process is reversible if and only if it's always at equilibrium during the process. Why? I have heard several specific example of this, such as adding weight gradually to a piston to compress the ...
10
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7answers
16k views

The difference between heat and temperature

So as I understand it, heat energy of an object is the SUM of all the kinetic energies of the molecules of the object (upto constant factor). The temperature on the other hand is the AVERAGE of the ...
15
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3answers
5k views

Why is there more steam after a pot of water *stops* boiling?

I have a pot of vigorously boiling water on a gas stove. There's some steam, but not alot. When I turn off the gas, the boiling immediately subsides, and a huge waft of steam comes out. This is ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

Does tea stay hotter with the milk in it?

A little thought experiment, similar to this one: Imagine you are making a cup of tea when the door bell rings. You've poured the boiling water into a cup with a teabag in it. As you're just about to ...
6
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5answers
925 views

What is the meaning of following expression $C=\frac{\delta Q}{dT}$ mathematically?

Our professor raised the following question during our lecture in Statistical Physics (even so it's related to Thermodynamics): Many text books (even Wikipedia) writes wrong expressions (from ...
6
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8answers
4k views

Is it theoretically possible to reach 0 kelvin?

I'm having a discussion with someone. I said that it is -even theoretically- impossible to reach 0K, because that would imply that all molecules in the substance would stand perfectly still. He said ...
5
votes
2answers
315 views

What is the resolution to Gibb's paradox?

This question is essentially a duplicate of Gibbs Paradox - why should the change in entropy be zero?. The question concerns the following situation: I have some gas of identical particles and they ...
12
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4answers
906 views

Is the second law of thermodynamics a fundamental law, or does it emerge from other laws?

My question is basically this. Is the second law of thermodynamics a fundamental, basic law of physics, or does it emerge from more fundamental laws? Let's say I was to write a massive computer ...
8
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2answers
57k views

How can a wooden spoon be used to prevent water from over boiling?

This is an image I found via StumbleUpon Does this actually work? If so, why?
5
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1answer
310 views

A thermodynamic transformation that can be represented by a continuous quasistatic path in its state space may still be irreversible. Why?

A thermodynamic transformation that has a path (in its state space) that lies on the surface of its equation of state (e.g., $PV=NkT$) is always reversible (right?). However, if the path is a ...
5
votes
4answers
216 views

I still don't understand how a gas with an equation of state f(T,p,V)=0 can change if 2 state functions are fixed?

Just like classical potential, it's stated that equilibrium is obtained when the corresponding thermodynamics potential reaches the minimum. Explicitly, according to Wikipedia, in particular: ...
5
votes
1answer
308 views

What is the entropy of the universe today?

What's the entropy of the universe today? How does one go about calculating this? I've heard the statement that black holes account for the bulk of the entropy in the universe today, but don't know ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Total and partial derivatives in thermodynamics and Maxwell relations

Consider the expression $$dS=\left(\frac{\partial S}{\partial T}\right)_VdT+\left(\frac{\partial S}{\partial V}\right)_TdV$$ I'm trying to understand how to derive an expression for $\left( ...
2
votes
1answer
417 views

Flory-Huggins ternary phase diagram with a neutral component

I am searching the literature for the Flory-Huggins phase diagram with the following components : polymer, solvent, and a third component that does not interact with the other components (just entropy ...
2
votes
3answers
865 views

Is a plasma a distinct phase of matter?

Long ago I learned that a plasma was a distinct state of matter after solid, liquid and gas, and also that it was achieved by imparting heat to a the matter. But most references describe a plasma as ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Heat transfer between two surfaces

Suppose I have surface A in contact with surface B, if I apply Fourier's law of heat transfer, which $K$ should I use, $K_a$ or $K_b$? Essentially asking whether the same block of material heats ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Understanding the Seebeck effect

Thermoelectricity is, as I understand it, the difference in voltage between the hot and cold ends of two dissimilar materials. If two materials are connected at two different junctions, the hot ...
1
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2answers
385 views

Is quantum uncertainty principle related to thermodynamics?

Would like to ask a question, but first i would like to say Hello Everybody in a way that plays the system, since some geniouses decided that one should not be able to say hello in a question. The ...
1
vote
2answers
833 views

Why a mono-atomic crystal layer (2D) can't be stable?

According to Peierls and Landau, 2D crystals were thermodynamically unstable. They can't exist! Of course, this theory was disapproved in 2004 (example: graphene). What is the general definition of ...
0
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1answer
88 views

Thermodynamics - internal energy

What would the curve that describes the change of internal energy ($U$) with the volume ($V$) be like if the change in the temperature is negative? My try: For a ideal monoatomic gas, we have ...
-1
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1answer
136 views

Heat preserving performance of container relative to content

This question has been addressed in the case of a thermos bottle: Performance of a thermos bottle relative to contents I am asking the question again without the hypothesis that it is a thermos ...
9
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6answers
19k views

Is “dark clothes for winter, light for summer” relevant?

We are told to wear light clothes in summer as they are better at reflecting sunshine and keeping us cool. And dark clothes absorb sunshine and keep us warm. But is it really relavent? If I buy ...
4
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3answers
9k views

Temperature behavior over time of black or white cars in hot, sunny regions

How does the color of a car influence its inner temperature change over time when parked outside in windless, hot and sunny regions? I know what's the common idea about that: black cars are supposed ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Possible colors of fire?

I have learnt that depending on the various gases those are involved in the reaction that produces fire, different colors (yellow, red or blue) of flames become visible. I have a question .. what are ...
3
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1answer
645 views

Should entropy have units and temperature in terms of energy? [duplicate]

I've been thinking about entropy for a while and why it is a confusing concept and many references are filled with varying descriptions of something that is a statistical probability (arrows of time, ...
1
vote
2answers
216 views

Is thermodynamic equilibrium static or dynamic?

Suppose, two parts of a system $A$ & $B$. They were at varying temperatures and hadn't achieved mechanical equilibrium. After the relaxation time, $A$ & $B$ were at thermal and mechanical ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

clausious inquality

Take a reservoir which gains a heat Q irreversibly at temp T from a surrounding at temp T0 then the entropy change of reservoir is given by Q/t and that of the surrounding is -Q/T0...How is this ...
82
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16answers
155k views

How Does Mass Leave the Body When you Lose Weight?

When your body burns calories and you lose weight, obviously mass is leaving your body. In what form does it leave? In other words, what is the physical process by which the body loses weight when ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you prove $S=-\sum p\ln p$?

How does one prove the formula for entropy $S=-\sum p\ln p$? Obviously systems on the microscopic level are fully determined by the microscopic equations of motion. So if you want to introduce a law ...
21
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4answers
1k views

The unreasonable effectiveness of the partition function

In a first course on statistical mechanics the partition function is normally introduced as the normalisation for the probability of a particle being in a particular energy level. ...
15
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3answers
5k views

Is there any proof for the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Are there any analytical proofs for the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Or is it based entirely on empirical evidence?
5
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3answers
449 views

Proof of existence of lowest temperature $0 K$

Im mathematics there is a concept of infinity meaning that whenever you pick a number and say that it is the smallest/Largest there is a way to further reduce/increase that number by ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Do all massive bodies emit Hawking radiation?

It is known that any accelerated observer is subject to a heat bath due to Unruh radiation. The principle of equivalence suggests that any stationary observer on the surface of a massive body should ...
13
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5answers
2k views

Can a single classical particle have any entropy?

recently I have had some exchanges with @Marek regarding entropy of a single classical particle. I always believed that to define entropy one must have some distribution. In Quantum theory, a single ...
10
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1answer
715 views

Why is (von Neumann) entropy maximized for an ensemble in thermal equilibrium?

Consider a quantum system in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath. In determining the density operator of the system, the usual procedure is to maximize the von Neumann entropy subject to the ...
25
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6answers
3k views

Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
15
votes
3answers
548 views

Could temperature have been defined as $-\partial S/\partial U$?

When coming up with a definition of temperature, it's typical to start with an empirical definition that a system with a hotter temperature tends to lose heat to a system with a colder temperature. ...
14
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6answers
5k views

What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?

What is the difference between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics?
9
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9answers
24k views

Why does the gas get cold when I spray it?

When you spray gas from a compressed spray, the gas gets very cold, even though, the compressed spray is in the room temperature. I think, when it goes from high pressure to lower one, it gets cold, ...
5
votes
4answers
673 views

Entropy as an arrow of time

From what I understand, entropy is a concept defined by the experimentalist due to his ignorance of the exact microstate of a system. To say the number of accessible microstates $W$ of the universe is ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does the tongue stick to a metal pole in the winter?

since the Christmas season is here, I would like to ask a question about the movie, "A Christmas Story." In one of the subplots of the movie, Ralphie's friends were betting each other that their ...
17
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6answers
6k views

Why does ice form on bridges even if the temperature is above freezing?

So with this "arctic blast" continuing, I've noticed that for my area, the temperature drops below freezing just long enough to cause freezing rain, but then the sun comes out and the temperature ...
13
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4answers
392 views

Discontinuities and nondifferentiability in thermodynamics

In physics and engineering sources, calculus-based formalisms - whether differential forms on a manifold, or "differentials" of functions of several variables - are presented as a way of modeling and ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Clear up confusion about the meaning of entropy

So I though, and was told, that entropy is the amount of disorder in a system. Specifically the example of heat flow and it flows to maximize entropy. To me this seemed odd. This seemed more ordered ...
4
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4answers
424 views

What is temperature?

Recently I read an interesting article about negative temperature. I was puzzled because I thought before that temperature has definite meaning in thermodynamics: it tells about how fast atoms jiggle. ...
2
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4answers
7k views

Internal energy according to the van der Waals equation

I am trying to derive the internal energy of a gas which obeys the van der Waals equation. I have however encountered some problems. I calculate the integral of $dU$ from $V=0,T=0$ to $V=V, T=\infty$ ...