Thermodynamics of Diffusion


IN the passage in my review to which Prof. Bryan takes exception I had in my mind his definition of available energy at p. 35 and p. 43:—“The available energy of a system under given conditions is the quantity of energy which under these conditions can be converted into work”; and in the same passage the conditions are. also spoken of as “external” conditions. Let the system consist of two gases occupying equal halves of a cylinder, both at the same temperature and at pressure p, separated by a piston impervious to either, and the whole surrounded by air at the same pressure p. It seems to me to be impossible under those conditions to convert any of the energy of the system into work; but if it can be done, it must be possible to explain how. The context of p. 125 does not seem to me to explain it.

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