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Entropy 2004, 6(1), 50-56;

The adiabatic piston: a perpetuum mobile in the mesoscopic realm

Department of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA
Dipartimento di Fisica, Universitá dell'Aquila, 67010 L'Aquila, Italy
Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia, Universitá Roma Tre, 00146 Roma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 September 2003 / Accepted: 15 December 2003 / Published: 11 March 2004
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Limits to the Second Law of Thermodynamics)
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A detailed analysis of the adiabatic-piston problem reveals, for a finely-tuned choice of the spatial dimensions of the system, peculiar dynamical features that challenge the statement that an isolated system necessarily reaches a time-independent equilibrium state. In particular, the piston behaves like a perpetuum mobile, i.e., it never comes to a stop but keeps wandering, undergoing sizeable oscillations around the position corresponding to maximum entropy; this has remarkable implications on the entropy changes of a mesoscopic isolated system and on the limits of validity of the second law of thermodynamics in the mesoscopic realm. View Full-Text
Keywords: Brownian motors; perpetuum mobile; second law Brownian motors; perpetuum mobile; second law

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Crosignani, B.; Porto, P., Di; Conti, C. The adiabatic piston: a perpetuum mobile in the mesoscopic realm. Entropy 2004, 6, 50-56.

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