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Mechanical Reversibility? (vs Thermodynamics)

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Nov22-03, 08:32 AM
P: n/a
I'm a bit confused with this topic we're supposed to be writing a paper on:
"Thermodynamical Irreversibility VS Mechanical Reversibility (Microscopic Nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics)"

I think I know the concept of the irreversible nature of thermodynamics...such as the flow of thermal energy from hot to cold until equillibrium... entropy, and the nature of things to go from organization to lesser degrees of organization. But nowhere can I find the term "Mechanical Reversibility" and I don't really know what he means by it.

He gave us a couple of handouts that were supposed to help us. They both mentioned Perpetual Motion Machines... the main focus seemed to be Perpetual Motion Machines of the 2nd kind... that is, the kind that can extract heat from objects, against the laws of thermodynamics. Nonetheless, I can't seem to connect "Mechanical Reversibility" to any of this, as can't even find an example of it =(

Any ideas? Thanks =)
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Nov22-03, 02:36 PM
Sci Advisor
krab's Avatar
P: 905
In Google, type in one or more of the following keywords: "maxwell's demon", ratchet, irreversibility. That ought to get you started.

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