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Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics by Themis Matsoukas

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Chapter 4. Entropy and the Second Law

The first law, discussed in the previous chapter, expresses a fundamental principle, energy conservation. All processes observed in nature are bound to satisfy this principle. To put this differently, a process is physically impossible if it violates the first law. The opposite, however, is not true: not every process that satisfies the first law is in fact possible. Consider this familiar situation: if we throw a piece of ice in warm water and leave the system undisturbed, the ice will melt and the water will become colder. This process satisfies the first law, as the amount of energy that is absorbed by the ice is equal to the energy (heat) rejected by the warm water. Now, consider the same process in reverse: ...

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