The laws of physics are absolute - in theory. And with an exception. So absolute doesn't always mean what we think it means.
How heat and temperature related to energy, the laws of thermodynamics, seem to violate the laws of physics theoretically. But now they theoretically don't.
A paper recently published in EPJ B discussed a theoretical model of the environment's influence on a particle does not violate the third law of thermodynamics, despite appearances to the contrary. These findings are relevant for systems at the micro or nanometer scale that are difficult to decouple from the heat or the quantum effects exerted by their environment.
The authors focused on a model system favored by thermodynamics experts that consists of a free particle strongly coupled to a heat bath, representing the effect of its environment. Studies of such systems typically focus on how much energy is needed to raise their temperature by a certain amount, or so-called specific heat. Previous theoretical predictions suggested that, under certain circumstances, the specific heat can decrease below zero at a temperature of strictly zero (−273.15°C).
This prediction appears to breach the third law of thermodynamics, which states that the specific heat must drop to zero value at strictly zero temperature.
The authors demonstrated that the third law of thermodynamics is not actually violated. In fact, a real particle will always be confined to a finite volume—even if that volume may be extremely large. Therefore, they discovered that previous studies need to be modified in order to account for a spatial confinement of the particle.
The new model demonstrates how the negative specific heat for a truly free particle is related to a dip in the specific heat, which should be observable in the presence of a confinement.
Citation: R. Adamietz, G.-L. Ingold, and U. Weiss (2014), Thermodynamic anomalies in the presence of general linear dissipation: from the free particle to the harmonic oscillator, European Physical Journal B, DOI 10.1140/epjb/e2014-50125-2
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- How We Predict Climate Decades Ahead - Yet Can't Forecast Weather Ten Days Ahead - Chaos Patterned With Order
- Is The X(5568) A True Resonance ?
- The Five Stages Of A Dying Theory
- Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About BPA?
- Time, Wittgenstein And Language Scaffolding
- Russian scientists increase DVD storage capacity million times
- Neanderthals: Not So Dumb
- "Tracy, nobody has pinpointed an orbit for it. When they say that they usually mean that they have..."
- "This is allegationism, that is to say, an assertion that 'people are saying' something but with..."
- "Another quick reply as I'm heavily engaged in translation of an important paper, also writing up..."
- "Hi Mr walker been reading that nibiru is actually a 100% dead cert this time apparently people..."
- "Oh thanks, that's a good one for the Florida Map. Though it only has data for the US. For instance..."
- Annoying Studies’ Series: Newborn Weight Gain (Again!)
- Five PM? Time for Breakfast!
- Include Aerobic Fitness in Physical Exams, Heart Association Recommends
- Female Vervet Monkeys Assault Males that Do Not Participate in Fights
- Vaginal Ring Effective for HIV Infection Prevention
- Winter is No Wonderland