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law of thermodynamics

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noun

any of three principles variously stated in equivalent forms, being the principle that the change of energy of a thermodynamic system is equal to the heat transferred minus the work done (first law of thermodynamics ), the principle that no cyclic process is possible in which heat is absorbed from a reservoir at a single temperature and converted completely into mechanical work (second law of thermodynamics ), and the principle that it is impossible to reduce the temperature of a system to absolute zero in a finite number of operations (third law of thermodynamics ).

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for law of thermodynamics

law of thermodynamics

noun

any of three principles governing the relationships between different forms of energy. The first law of thermodynamics (law of conservation of energy) states that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the sum of the heat added to the system and the work done on it. The second law of thermodynamics states that heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a hotter body within a system without net changes occurring in other bodies within that system; in any irreversible process, entropy always increases. The third law of thermodynamics (Nernst heat theorem) states that it is impossible to reduce the temperature of a system to absolute zero in a finite number of steps
Also called: zeroth law of thermodynamics the principle that if two bodies are each in thermal equilibrium with a third body then the first two bodies are in thermal equilibrium with each other
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for law of thermodynamics

law of thermodynamics

See under thermodynamics.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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