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Chemical Thermodynamics by J. Rajaram

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Chapter 4

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

4.a.  The Need for a Second Law

The first law of thermodynamics asserts that in any energy conversion process, one form of energy must be converted into an equivalent amount of another form of energy. It is not concerned with whether such conversions are possible and if so to what extent. For example, whether heat ‘flows’ from a hotter body to a colder one or vice versa, the heat lost must be equal to the heat gained according to the first law, but the first law does not specify in which direction the heat will flow. In Nature many systems are known in which the direction of the change can be predicted. Heat flows from a hotter to a colder body till they reach a common temperature. A gas at high pressure ...

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