The Laws Of Thermodynamics

This writing assignment explains some essential ideas about the Laws of Thermodynamics and how oranges exist given the Law of Thermodynamics, along with ideas of entropy. Oranges are considered structured because of the fact that entropy is an expression of the randomness or disorder as well as the energy from high temperature region to low temperature areas. Since orange molecules are not closed system and assuming that their entropy decreases, the energy flowing to the low temperature areas is able to make oranges to exist since the entropy is decreasing for those molecules hence the disorder is decreasing so the molecules can pull together or stay together.

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Energy is defined as the ability to do work while thermodynamics is bringing about change in the study of energy. Energy exists in many forms, such as heat, light, chemical energy, and electrical energy.

Paul Davies, another well-known and popular author gives his views on the Laws of thermodynamics as,” The second law of thermodynamics is often phrased by saying that every closed system tends towards a state of total disorder or chaos. One measure of the remorseless rise of chaos uses a quantity called ‘entropy,’ which is defined to be, roughly speaking, and the degree of disorder in a system. The second law then states that in a closed system the total entropy can never decrease; at best it remains the same. Almost all natural changes tend to increase the entropy, and we see the second law at work all around us in nature. One of the most conspicuous examples is in the way that the sun slowly burns up its nuclear fuel, spewing heat and light irretrievably into the depths of space, and raising the entropy of the cosmos with each liberated photon. Eventually the sun will run out of fuel and cease to shine. The same slow degeneration afflicts all the stars in the universe. In the mid-nineteenth century, this dismal fate came to be known as the ‘cosmic heat death.’” [Davies, In About Time p. 34]

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another. The First Law of Thermodynamics also called the law of conservation states that energy is always conserved; it cannot be created or destroyed. In essence, energy can be converted from one form into another.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that “in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state.” This is also commonly referred to as entropy. Once the potential energy locked in carbohydrates is converted into kinetic energy (energy in use or motion), the organism will get no more until energy is input again. In the process of energy transfer, some energy will dissipate as heat. Entropy is a measure of disorder: cells are not disordered and so have low entropy. The flow of energy maintains order and life. Entropy wins when organisms cease to take in energy and die.

The third law of thermodynamics, formulated by Walter Nernst and also known as the Nernst heat theorem, states that if one could reach absolute zero, all bodies would have the same entropy. In other words, a body at absolute zero could exist in only one possible state, which would possess a definite energy, called the zero-point energy. This state is defined as having zero entropy.

Potential energy, as the name implies, is energy that has not yet been used, thus the term potential. Kinetic energy is energy in use or motion.

In the hydrologic cycle, the sun is the ultimate source of energy, evaporating water (in a fashion raising its potential above water in the ocean). When the water falls as rain (or snow) it begins to run downhill toward sea-level. As the water gets closer to sea-level, its potential energy is decreased. Without the sun, the water would eventually still reach sea-level, but never be evaporated to recharge the cycle. Water is an essential need for all living things which include plants to manufacture and processes their food.

Chemicals may also be considered from a potential energy or kinetic energy standpoint. One pound of sugar has a certain potential energy. If that pound of sugar is burned the energy is released all at once. The energy released is kinetic energy heat. So much is released that organisms would burn up if all the energy was released at once. Organisms must release the energy a little bit at a time.

Similarly, according to Brian Greene he emphasizes on the study of entropy as, “First, entropy is a measure of the amount of disorder in a physical system. Second, in physical systems with many constituents there is a natural evolution toward greater disorder, since disorder can be achieved in so many more ways than order. In the language of entropy, this is the statement that physical systems tend to evolve toward states of higher entropy.” (Green, In The Fabric of the Cosmos, p. 154)

Energy is defined as the ability to do work. Cells convert potential energy, usually in the form of C-C covalent bonds or ATP molecules, into kinetic energy to accomplish cell division, growth, biosynthesis, and active transport, among other things.

Therefore, for orange tree to grow to its fullness and be able to produce its fruits, the energy processes would be involved in the development of that plant. Also for it to grow healthy it requires fertilizer which is a chemical energy being converted to potential energy.

Energy has often been called the currency of life. It flows through Earth’s processes creating wind, providing light, and enabling plants to create food from water and air (carbon dioxide). Humans have tapped into this flow to generate electricity, fuel our cars, and heat our homes. The sun provides Earth with most of its energy. It is important for one to recognize and appreciate this source of energy and to explore the transformations that bring the sun’s light into their home in the form of light, heat, food, and fuel. We are fortunate to have many “concentrated” sources of energy. Besides the sun, there is chemical energy found in fossil fuels such as coal and oil and in nuclear resources.

While the amount of energy in our world remains constant, as we use it (transfer it to one form to another), it becomes spread out and less useful. Energy also gives us the ability to work. Through education and becoming aware of what energy is and how we use it, we can learn (i.e., work) to use our concentrated resources more wisely, and ensure that they will be available for future generations.

Work cited

Davies P. In About Time. Simon & Schuster. 1995.

Green B. In the Fabric of the Cosmos: space, time and the texture of reality, A.A. Knopf, 2004.