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Modern Thermodynamics for Chemists and Biochemists$
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Dennis Sherwood and Paul Dalby

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198782957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198782957.001.0001

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Spontaneous changes

Spontaneous changes

Chapter:
(p.258) 8 Spontaneous changes
Source:
Modern Thermodynamics for Chemists and Biochemists
Author(s):

Dennis Sherwood

Paul Dalby

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198782957.003.0008

To set the scene for the Second Law, this (non-mathematical) chapter explores our experience of spontaneous changes - such as the expansion of a gas into a vacuum, mixing, phase changes and many chemical reactions - demonstrating that they are all irreversible, and proceed unidirectionally from non-equilibrium states to equilibrium states. Furthermore, they all comply with the First Law. The First Law therefore cannot be used as a predictor of spontaneity. What, then, can be used as a predictor?

Keywords:   spontaneity, unidirectionality, irreversibility, mixing, phase changes, chemical reactions, causality, isolated system

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