More a Matter of Lost Work Than of Waste Heat
Pp. 31-40 (10)
It is further highlighted that the concept of work represents a more general
way to see what entropy is. That is, the idea of work offers a better framework to
understand entropy. A fundamental observation in classical mechanics is that a system
is at equilibrium when no work can be done by it. The capability of a system to do
work is inversely linked to its stability, which then can be considered to be equivalent
to the inertness of the system. Thus, equilibration, stability and inertness are all aspects
of the same feature of a system, and such feature is measured in terms of entropy. An
equilibrated, stable, and inert system has the highest value of entropy it can reach, and
any departure from these conditions results in a decrease of entropy. Therefore, work
availability and entropy are inversely linked: the maximal entropy is attained when no
work can be done.
Classical mechanics, Constraints, Directional macroscopic
displacement, Discontinuity, Disequilibrium, Energy availability, Energy
dissipation, Free energy, Irreversible process, Levelling of gradients, Lost work,
Macroscopic gradient, Overall entropy, Potential energy, Random microscopic
motions, Reversible path, Spreading and sharing, Transfer of work, Wasted heat.
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics Genomics Research Centre, via San Protaso 302, 29017 Fiorenzuola d`Arda Italy.