Law

which of the following statements most accurately describes the first law of thermodynamics?

March 28, 2021
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1. An object’s entropy is always higher than its energy.

So when you heat a pot of soup up to 212 degrees, the soup’s entropy will always be higher than the soup’s energy.

2. An objects entropy is always lower than its energy.So when you heat a pot of soup up to 212 degrees, the soups entropy will always be lower than the soups energy.

Let’s begin by defining an “entropy,” as the amount of disorder a system has when measured by the number of ways it can change from one state to another. An entropy of zero means there are no possible states for the system. Now, an entropy of one implies that there is exactly one possible state for the system, which is a state with no disorder.

So if we run a thermal process from 212 degrees to 400 degrees, we would expect the system to have a very high (say 99.9%) entropy that would be equal to the energy of the process. This would be the most stable possible state for a system. And since the entropy of a system is inversely proportional to its energy, we would expect this to be the final state.

This is correct. If you heat a system until it reaches a particular temperature, it will reach a state with the least amount of disorder. So the first law of thermodynamics applies to a process.

The process is said to be irreversible because it is a physical thing that can’t be reversed. You can’t just put it back into the same state. If you heat something, it will have more energy. But if you cool something, it will have less energy. Since the total energy remains the same, we can’t just put the system back into the same state at the end.

In this case, as stated, the system is said to have the least amount of disorder, so the first law of thermodynamics applies. The second law of thermodynamics applies, because the process is said to be irreversible. So what happens next? We must decide what to do with our energy. We want our energy to be used to create something useful, so we need to choose a method to distribute it. So we need to choose how to distribute our energy.

That’s right. I just remembered that! There is no such thing as an “energy”. Energy isn’t a thing. It’s a quantity. We can have energy (or energy of some sort) at any point in time. It’s just a property that varies.

In thermodynamics, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. A substance that contains energy can absorb energy from another substance and make that energy more stable, or it can release energy from another substance and make that energy more unstable.

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