Out of all the important concepts of science in the life of human
beings, thermodynamics ranks the highest. It is through this invention that so
many appliances have been made to make the life easy and comfortable. The idea
of thermodynamics traces its origin to the universe itself. The world, as it is
known, also operates on the principle of thermodynamics to ensure that the
temperatures are kept within the recommended levels. Thermodynamics can only
end when the universe suddenly comes to an end and all the energy fades away
Generally, thermodynamics is all about energy. It revolves around
the usage and the transformation of energy. More often, thermodynamics entails
using the heat energy to perform work, for instance, the automobile engines and
the refrigerator ( Minelli & Sarti, 2017). The knowledge of thermodynamics
will enable one to appreciate the importance of energy in moving about things
such as air plane, bicycle and electricity generators.
The word ‘thermodynamics’ has a Greek origin. ‘Thermo’ has
everything to do with heat while ‘dynamics’ means movement. Therefore, the term
means heat that has been occasioned by movement, well in the simplest of the
layman’s terms. The concept is all about converting heat into power.
The natural world is surrounded with so many thermodynamics
systems. From the sun to the huge masses of air which move around the surfaces
of the earth, the examples are endless. It is the endless transformation of
heat that causes the movement and the swirling.
Energy takes various forms. Nobody can however create nor destroy
energy. This forms the basis of thermodynamics. In most of the thermodynamic
systems, both the energy and the matter change their forms (Krigel’, 2016). For
instance, in the formation of rain, the water droplets in the clouds evaporate
into the air; they change from liquid to gaseous state. The vapor then
condenses back to water when it finally reaches the cooler parts of the
atmosphere. In the long run, the quantity of moisture will gain enough weight
to collect into water and eventually fall back to the earth surface as rain.
From the observation of most scientists, energy tends to flow in a
certain direction, another basis of thermodynamics. For example, heat will
always flows from a high to a low temperature region. The air blows along a
pressure gradient. There are also those types of heat which are often created
by the natural forces. The wind molecules move towards the water surface due to
the presence of buoyancy forces which forces them upwards (Jarillo et al.,
2017). The water droplets will always fall from the atmosphere due to the
presence of gravitational force which tends to pull them towards the ground.
Those who have not even a single piece of energy also have no
temperature at all. This reasoning is the brainchild of the concept of absolute
zero temperature in thermodynamics. It is not possible for any living
organism to achieve a zero state of energy. This is because there is basic
minimum energy requirement that is needed to support basic body functions even
when the organism is at rest.
The most intelligent scientists have over the time been able to
take advantage of energy in its natural forms to come up with some of the very
interesting appliances. Thermodynamics systems have been used to find
meaningful ways of harnessing the natural energy into forms that can be used in
other activities. Heat is normally used to heat the water to make it lighter
and thus move up the turbines. The concept has been applied in the
manufacturing of machines including lawn mower and in propelling aero planes as
well as moving cars (Cox & Medvedev,1989).
It is through thermodynamics that an engineer can know the right
amount of heat necessary for moving a car or performing a certain piece of
task. Furthermore, the concept can also be used to determine how efficient a
machine is utilizing its energy. This is important especially when there is
need to ensure that the machines are operating at the most cost friendly mode.
Friction often tends to make work difficult to accomplish. Furthermore, the
amount of energy spent in moving a machine or objects whose joints have not
doubled is often double what would have been spent had the machine been
properly maintained (Zemansky & Dittman,1968).
In the world of science, ‘cold’ simply means the absence of heat.
Otherwise no object can be termed as cold. In as much as it is sensory, it does
not exist in physical terms. When one decides to cool a cup of coffee using an
ice cube, the heat actually moves from coffee to the ice cube thus lowers the
temperature. In the long run, the temperature attained will be somewhere
between the temperature of the coffee and the ice cube (Korunur, 2017). The
differing chemical properties also have a say on the manner in which the two
substances interact. The various chemical properties influence the mode of
interaction of the two substances. There is a high level of interaction between
the chemical components of coffee and those of the ice cube. The coffee
molecules lose heat due to the expenditure of kinetic energy in them.
The cooling appliances such as the refrigerators and the air
conditioners also use heat. However, the only difference is that they have a
reverse process through which heat is generated. Instead, they operate by
losing heat. In the refrigerated, heat is pulled from the inner compartment.
The inner compartment is where foods and other perishable items are stored.
From here, the heat is transferred to the outside regions. This is the accurate
explanation as to warm temperature at the back of a refrigerator.
There is a condenser inside the refrigerator where the heat from
the refrigerated compartment flows. The evaporator has a gas which acts as a
refrigerant. The gas, mostly ammonia, readily liquefies. From the evaporator,
the gas is transferred to a pipe at a very minimal force thus causing a cooling
effect in the process of evaporation. The refrigerant is then taken by the pipe
to the condenser which then pumps it at a very high pressure. The condenser
that is found behind the refrigerator contains long pipes to liquefy the gas.
The movement of the gas through the condenser makes it to be heated and
eventually disappears into the atmosphere.
The operation of the air conditioner is more or less the same. The
heated air in the room will flow into the evaporator. Inside the refrigerator,
there is a compressor which helps in the circulation of the refrigerator into
the condenser. A fan at the back of the refrigerator helps in the absorption of
hot hair from room and cools it through the condenser. Another fan removes heat
from the condenser to the surrounding. The rear of the air conditioner is
normally hot due to the fact that it moves heat from the area in order to be
cooled. Unfortunately, the air conditioner has some negative effects to the
environment and man. For instance, the ambient sound causes noise pollution.
The conditioner also dries the skin and the mucous membrane. There is also a
possibility of respiratory disease being transmitted by the air circulation.
It is important to reiterate the fact that heat can only be
transferred from one place to the other whenever there is a difference in
temperature between the two points. The moment two systems have the same level
of thermal energy then no heat transfer can take place whatsoever. In the
thermodynamic system, heat can be transferred either by conduction, convection
Conduction occurs after a successive collision of the molecules.
It is the method of heat transfer in solid objects. The molecules in solids are
normally packed in close proximity and it is therefore easier for the heat to
be transferred. Therefore, the moment a particular end of an iron rod has been
heated, the other side will attain the same hot temperature through conduction.
Liquid metals are lesser conductors as compared to the compact metals. This is
because of the loose molecules in the molten metals ( Prausnitz, Lichtenthaler &
de Azevedo,1998). The process of conduction is normally a very silent one.
However, there is massive transfer of thermal kinetic energy from one end of
the object to the other. With time, the secret can no longer be kept since the
object eventually acquires heat all over its surface. Scientifically speaking,
there is a certain amount of energy which is usually lost as heat is
transferred in the molecules
Convection is the process of heat transfer in fluids. In the
world of physics, the term ‘fluid’ is used to refer to both liquids and gases.
The logic has been attributed to anything that has the ability to flow. The
process of convection just takes place naturally; hot air rises while the
cooler ones fall to fill up the place left by the rising hot air. The heated is
lighter due to the low density it acquires in the process of heating.
However, there are also those instances when forced convection can
be made to happen inside a natural system. Radiation is mostly associated with
the process by which the heat from the sun reaches the surface of the earth.
The concept explains why the upper section of the atmosphere is usually colder
than the lower regions. The heat by radiation does not only revolve around the
sun. There are so many other phenomena which take place as a result of
radiation. The bulbs give out light due to the presence of radiation. Most of
the heat is normally lost in the infrared rays. The fluorescent bulb works by
converting the excess heat into light.
The thermostat in iron boxes and flasks also applies the same
principle of thermodynamics iron clothes and keep the liquid contents at the
desired temperature conditions respectively. The thermo start in the two
gadgets keep joining and breaking the circuit depending on the temperature
extremes of the moment. The electric energy is often converted to heat energy
and consequently used to iron the clothes and keep the liquid warm.
The application of thermodynamics in Biological Science is the
quantitative study of the energy transductions. It happens in or between the
structures, living organisms, and cells function of the chemical processes
underlying these transductions. At present, biological thermodynamics concerns
itself with the study of internal biochemical dynamics. The examples are protein
stability, ATP hydrolysis, DNA binding, membrane diffusion, enzyme kinetics and
other essential energy controlled ways.
The amount of energy capable of doing work during a chemical reaction
can be measured in quantity in terms of thermo dynamical order. The basic
source of energy for living organisms is the sun. Sunlight is directly needed
for some living organisms like plants while other organisms similar to humans
who acquire energy from the sun indirectly. Some examples are there that some bacteria can thrive in harsh
environments same as in Antarctica the blue-green algae below the thick layer
of ice in lake is the evidence. It doesn’t matter what the type of living
species, all living organisms must capture, transduce, store, and use thermal
energy for living.
The concept of cryogenics the branch of low temperature
thermodynamics looks at the behavior and production of materials at minimal
temperatures. For a gas to be cryogenic, it has to be liquefied below -150
degrees Celsius. Some of the most common cryogenic fluids include Helium,
Hydrogen, Neon and Nitrogen.
In conclusion, the concept of thermodynamics is one which can be
applied in a wide variety of fields. It has contributed immensely to the sector
of electronics technology. Thanks to the invention of the refrigerator, it is
now possible to preserve food for several days without the fear of losing them.
The air conditioner has made it possible for people to regulate the
temperatures of the rooms, regardless of the outside weather conditions. There
are some forms of energy which were previously idle but have since been put
into some good use through the invention of the thermodynamics. The iron boxes
and the flasks also owe their existence to thermodynamics. With the constant
innovation in the world, it is optimistic to believe that humanity is yet to
see the best of thermodynamics.