Why Do Two Objects at Different Temperatures Come to a Common Intermediate Temperature When Put in Contact? Entropy Is Maximized

Title:
Why Do Two Objects at Different Temperatures Come to a Common Intermediate Temperature When Put in Contact? Entropy Is Maximized
Authors:
Gislason, Eric A.; Craig, Norman C.
Abstract:
A classic problem in thermodynamics is to place two objects with different heat capacities and different temperatures in thermal contact and ask what is the final common temperature. Normally, this temperature is found using the first law of thermodynamics. A single, intermediate final temperature is an assumption (from experience) that is not required by the first law. Why is the final temperature of the two objects at equilibrium the same? It is shown that this outcome is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics subject to the constraint of energy conservation (the first law). That is, the overall entropy of the universe is maximized when the two objects reach a common temperature. The analysis is extended to the case of two different samples of ideal gas at different pressures as well as different temperatures placed in mechanical (for example, by placing a moveable piston between the gases) and thermal contact. In this case, it is shown that the two gases at equilibrium reach a common temperature as well as a common pressure.
Citation:
Gislason, Eric A. and Norman C. Craig. 2006. "Why Do Two Objects at Different Temperatures Come to a Common Intermediate Temperature When Put in Contact? Entropy Is Maximized." Journal of Chemical Education 83(6): 885.
Publisher:
American Chemical Society, Division of Chemical Education
DATE ISSUED:
2006
Department:
Chemistry
Type:
Article
PUBLISHED VERSION:
10.1021/ed083p885
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/334134

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorGislason, Eric A.en
dc.contributor.authorCraig, Norman C.en
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-10T14:14:23Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-10T14:14:23Z-
dc.date.issued2006en
dc.identifier.citationGislason, Eric A. and Norman C. Craig. 2006. "Why Do Two Objects at Different Temperatures Come to a Common Intermediate Temperature When Put in Contact? Entropy Is Maximized." Journal of Chemical Education 83(6): 885.en
dc.identifier.issn0021-9584en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/334134-
dc.description.abstractA classic problem in thermodynamics is to place two objects with different heat capacities and different temperatures in thermal contact and ask what is the final common temperature. Normally, this temperature is found using the first law of thermodynamics. A single, intermediate final temperature is an assumption (from experience) that is not required by the first law. Why is the final temperature of the two objects at equilibrium the same? It is shown that this outcome is a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics subject to the constraint of energy conservation (the first law). That is, the overall entropy of the universe is maximized when the two objects reach a common temperature. The analysis is extended to the case of two different samples of ideal gas at different pressures as well as different temperatures placed in mechanical (for example, by placing a moveable piston between the gases) and thermal contact. In this case, it is shown that the two gases at equilibrium reach a common temperature as well as a common pressure.en
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherAmerican Chemical Society, Division of Chemical Educationen
dc.identifier.doi10.1021/ed083p885en
dc.subject.departmentChemistryen
dc.titleWhy Do Two Objects at Different Temperatures Come to a Common Intermediate Temperature When Put in Contact? Entropy Is Maximizeden
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Chemical Educationen
dc.subject.keywordCalorimetryen
dc.subject.keywordThermochemistryen
dc.identifier.volume83en
dc.identifier.issue6en
dc.identifier.startpage885en
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