Volume 53, Number 3, February 2001
|Page(s)||290 - 296|
|Published online||01 December 2003|
On the validity of the second law of thermodynamics in the mesoscopic realm
Dipartimento di Fisica, Università dell'Aquila - 67010
L'Aquila, Italy and
INFM, Unità dell'Università di Roma
"La Sapienza"- 00185 Roma, Italy
Accepted: 28 November 2000
We describe the entropy evolution of an isolated thermodynamical system, consisting of an ideal gas contained in an adiabatic cylinder partitioned by a movable frictionless adiabatic piston, and show that, under appropriate initial conditions, the entropy can decrease. This remarkable exception to the second law of thermodynamics (which we show not to contradict Boltzmann H-theorem) would actually take place over an extremely long, in practice unobservable, time for an ordinary macroscopic system. However, there is a range of physical parameters, pertaining to mesoscopic systems, where the decrease can occur on a realistic time scale.
PACS: 05.70.-a – Thermodynamics / 05.40.-a – Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems / 65.50.+m – Thermodynamic properties and entropy
© EDP Sciences, 2001
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