# Thermodynamics and Entropy: Does an Atom's Energy Decrease Over Time?

• cowcow8866
In summary, the question is whether an atom's energy decreases over time due to entropy and what the average lifetime of an atom is.
cowcow8866

## Homework Statement

In the tropics, the water near the surface is warmer than the deep water. Would an engine operates between these two surfaces violates the second law? Why?

## Homework Equations

Clausius statement:
Heat generally cannot flow spontaneously from a material at lower temperature to a material at higher temperature.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I only knoe that the water near the surface is a high temperature reservoir and the deep water is a low temperature reservoir. Any engine only absorb heat at high temperature reservoir and do work and rejects heat at low temperature reservoir. I don't know what is the relationship of this with the second law. Thank you.

I don't know what is the relationship of this with the second law.
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html"

Last edited by a moderator:
dlgoff said:
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html"

YES,...
But anybody can give me some hints or direction to tackle this question?

Last edited by a moderator:
Note that from the mathematical definition of entropy, a process in which heat flows from cold to hot has decreasing entropy. This can happen in a non-isolated system if entropy is created elsewhere, such that the total entropy is constant or increasing, as required by the second law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics"

Last edited by a moderator:
cowcow8866 said:

## Homework Statement

In the tropics, the water near the surface is warmer than the deep water. Would an engine operates between these two surfaces violates the second law? Why?

## Homework Equations

Clausius statement:
Heat generally cannot flow spontaneously from a material at lower temperature to a material at higher temperature.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I only knoe that the water near the surface is a high temperature reservoir and the deep water is a low temperature reservoir. Any engine only absorb heat at high temperature reservoir and do work and rejects heat at low temperature reservoir. I don't know what is the relationship of this with the second law. Thank you.
The answer is no. So long as heat flows from the warmer reservoir to the colder, there is no violation of the second law.

AM

I have had a simple question that has nagged me since my '60s era physics classes. Simply put, does an an atom's energy "run down" over time? e.g. Is it a constant or does it drop over time due to entropy? If it drops over time, what is the lifetime of an atom?

## What is the second law of thermodynamics?

The second law of thermodynamics is a fundamental principle in physics that states that the total entropy (or disorder) of a closed system will always increase over time. This means that energy will always flow from a state of higher concentration to a state of lower concentration, resulting in a decrease in usable energy.

## How does the second law of thermodynamics relate to entropy?

Entropy is a measure of the disorder or randomness of a system. The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of a closed system will always increase, meaning that the system will become more disordered over time.

## Can the second law of thermodynamics be violated?

No, the second law of thermodynamics is a fundamental law of nature and cannot be violated. While it may seem that certain processes, such as the creation of order from disorder, violate this law, they actually follow the law by increasing the overall entropy of the universe in the process.

## What is an example of the second law of thermodynamics in action?

An example of the second law of thermodynamics in action is the process of heat transfer. Heat will always flow from a hot object to a cooler object, increasing the overall entropy of the system. This is why it is difficult to maintain a constant temperature in a closed system without the input of external energy.

## How does the second law of thermodynamics impact the universe?

The second law of thermodynamics plays a crucial role in shaping the universe. It explains why energy is not evenly distributed throughout the universe and why processes such as the expansion of the universe and the formation of galaxies and stars occur. It also predicts the eventual "heat death" of the universe, in which all energy will eventually be evenly distributed and no work can be done.

• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
3
Views
717
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
8
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
1
Views
879
• Thermodynamics
Replies
4
Views
943
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
2
Views
969
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
2
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
3
Views
6K
• Thermodynamics
Replies
20
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
6
Views
2K
• Thermodynamics
Replies
15
Views
1K