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Open AccessArticle

The Second Law of Thermodynamics as a Force Law

Biophysics, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
Entropy 2018, 20(4), 234;
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 28 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Statistical Physics)
The second law of thermodynamics states the increase of entropy, Δ S > 0 , for real processes from state A to state B at constant energy from chemistry over biological life and engines to cosmic events. The connection of entropy to information, phase-space, and heat is helpful but does not immediately convince observers of the validity and basis of the second law. This gave grounds for finding a rigorous, but more easily acceptable reformulation. Here, we show using statistical mechanics that this principle is equivalent to a force law f > 0 in systems where mass centers and forces can be identified. The sign of this net force--the average mean force along a path from A to B--determines the direction of the process. The force law applies to a wide range of processes from machines to chemical reactions. The explanation of irreversibility by a driving force appears more plausible than the traditional formulation as it emphasizes the cause instead of the effect of motions. View Full-Text
Keywords: statistical mechanics; irreversibility; arrow of time; chemical dynamics statistical mechanics; irreversibility; arrow of time; chemical dynamics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schlitter, J. The Second Law of Thermodynamics as a Force Law. Entropy 2018, 20, 234.

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