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Entropy 2004, 6(1), 30-37;

Thomson's formulation of the second law for macroscopic and finite work sources

Institute for Theoretical Physics, Valckenierstraat 65, 1018 XE Amsterdam, Netherlands
Yerevan Physics Institute, Alikhanian Brothers St. 2, Yerevan 375036, Armenia
PhT, CEA-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette cedex, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2003 / Accepted: 30 December 2003 / Published: 18 March 2004
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Limits to the Second Law of Thermodynamics)
PDF [138 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Thomson's formulation of the second law states: no work can be extracted from an equilibrium system through a cyclic process. A simple, general proof is presented for the case of macroscopic sources of work. Next the setup is generalized towards situations, where the corresponding work-source is not macroscopic. It is shown that using such a source one can extract energy from an equilibrium system by means of a cyclic process. However, this extraction is accompanied by an entropy increase of the source, in a manner resembling the Clausius inequality.
Keywords: second law; work; entropy second law; work; entropy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Allahverdyan, A.E.; Balian, R.; Nieuwenhuizen, T.M. Thomson's formulation of the second law for macroscopic and finite work sources. Entropy 2004, 6, 30-37.

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