The laws of thermodynamics say it all…


We all know that ‘Heat is a form of energy’. Energy can be kinetic, potential, chemical or nuclear energy. But all these forms can be expressed in terms of an equivalent amount of heat… Just like US dollar for money… Heat is a convenient, universal currency of energy.

Now, lets get to the laws of thermodynamics…

The 0th law says : Everything happens because of heat flow. Nothing happens without flow of heat. There are no exceptions – Heat flows in such a way to produce a uniform temperature level. It simply says that there is no heat flow between two objects that are of the same temperature and so, there is no transfer of energy.

The 1st law says : Heat can neither be destroyed nor be created… It can only move from one place to another or change form. This is also known as the law of conservation of energy.

In other words, heat usually manifests as another form, like kinetic energy – where some work will be done, or will be wasted when it flows from a hot place to a cold place.

The 2nd Law says : When the energy is constantly converted in a closed system, without any work being done, the amount of usable work decreases and the amount of unusable energy (Entropy) increases

That is, although the transformation does not change the total amount of energy in a system, after any transformation, the total amount of free energy available to do work is always less than the original amount of energy.

 

Now, Consider an unlit candle at room temperature. There is some cemical energy in the wax of that unlit candle. But, there is no heat flow and so, it can’t do any work.

A burning candle doesn’t create energy, but liberates heat that was present in it (in the form of chemical energy). The wax gets hot and melts because heat has changed to a form that can escape – Heat flows from the flame and hot wax into the cooler atmosphere…

If, a pot of water was placed over the flame, the heat could boil the water creating steam that could turn on a tiny engine which could in turn do some work… But, even if the candle doesn’t boil water, heat is not destroyed, but just became incapable of doing work.

Thus,

Energy is work in waiting

&

An undirected flow of energy doesn’t lose energy as it can’t be destroyed. But, it has certainly lost an opportunity to do work…!

 

Similarly, at any given time, the total amount of resource available to the entire world is the same. But, when the resourse is merely blocked into a rigid loop, it is no more available to accomplish any work..! All the resources need to be used to make a difference.

Wealth on paper alone doesn’t make any difference. It must be employed and put to use to make a difference…!

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