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Misunderstanding of Energy

  1. Mar 12, 2014 #1
    Hey, I know I'm wrong, but I don't know where. I've read several textbooks and searched the web, I would appreciate if you could explain my mistake:

    When two atoms collide with each other, they would do work on each other. By the second law of thermodynamics, some of this work would turn to heat, which will dissipate. Eventually, all of the atom's energy would convert to heat, and the atoms would stop moving. This is clearly not happening, so what's wrong?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2014 #2


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    Heat is the movement of atoms.
  4. Mar 12, 2014 #3
    The second law of Thermodynamics doesn't require any of the work to convert to heat. More importantly though you are trying to a apply a macroscopic concept - heat - to a microscopic collision. Where do you supposed the energy of the collision will go, if not the atoms themselves? Some of it may be radiated as electromagnetic radiation (That would be considered heat from a macroscopic point of view), but there is no contradiction there.
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