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Thermodynamics: Integral Part of our Life

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 6/10/2009

Thermodynamics is considered to be one of the most important parts of our daily life. Whether you are travelling in any vehicle, sitting comfortably in your air-conditioned room, watching television etc, you will notice the applications of thermodynamics almost everywhere directly or indirectly.

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    Thermodynamics is considered to be one of the most important parts of our day-to-day life. Whether you are travelling in any vehicle, sitting comfortably in your air-conditioned room, watching television etc, you will notice the applications of thermodynamics almost everywhere directly or indirectly. When Sadi Carnot, the boy considered to be the father of thermodynamics, proposed theorem and cycle, hardly anybody had imagined that his proposals will play such a major role in creation of automobiles that would become one of most important parts of the human life. The development of almost all types of engines can be traced to the Carnot Theorem and Carnot Cycle. At this stage of our life can we imagine the life without automobiles. Of course one cannot forget the importance of Stirling, Diesel, Otto and Ericsson also created their own independent cycles that resulted in more innovations and betterment of the automobiles.

    The study of thermodynamics involves various laws of thermodynamics that include: First Law of Thermodynamics, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Third Law of Thermodynamics, Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, Boyle’s law, Charles Law, etc. The foundation of these laws was laid by Sadi Carnot with his invention of the Carnot Cycle and Carnot Theorem. The study of these laws of thermodynamics help unravel numerous mysteries of the nature, not only for materialistic achievement, but also for gaining spiritual wisdom, for a number of these laws like the third law related to entropy helps understanding the secrets of existence of the human life.

    To understand various concepts of thermodynamics some important terms related to thermodynamics have to be understood. The study of the thermodynamics involves system and surroundings where all the experimentation is done for the discovery of the device. There are various types of thermodynamic processes that help implementing thermodynamic laws for various thermodynamic applications.

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    Applications of Thermodynamics

    1) All types of vehicles that we use, cars, motorcycles, trucks, ships, aeroplanes, and many other types work on the basis of second law of thermodynamics and Carnot Cycle. They may be using petrol engine or diesel engine, but the law remains the same.

    2) All the refrigerators, deep freezers, industrial refrigeration systems, all types of air-conditioning systems, heat pumps, etc work on the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.

    3) All types of air and gas compressors, blowers, fans, run on various thermodynamic cycles.

    4) One of the important fields of thermodynamics is heat transfer, which relates to transfer of heat between two media. There are three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. The concept of heat transfer is used in wide range of devices like heat exchangers, evaporators, condensers, radiators, coolers, heaters, etc.

    5) Thermodynamics also involves study of various types of power plants like thermal power plants, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, power plants based on renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, tides, water waves etc,

    6) Renewable energy is an important subject area of thermodynamics that involves studying the feasibility of using different types of renewable energy sources for domestic and commercial use.

    The list of the applications of thermodynamics is very long and if you want to mention the individual applications, these can be infinite. Thermodynamics involves the study of infinite universe and it indeed has infinite applications. No other field of study is as closely associated to human life as thermodynamics. For me the study of thermodynamics is the path to salvation.