thermodynamics, branch of science concerned with the nature of heat and its conversion to mechanical, electric, and chemical energy. Historically, it grew out of efforts to construct more efficient heat engines—devices for extracting useful work from expanding hot gases.
Sections in this article:
- The Second Law of Thermodynamics
- The First Law of Thermodynamics
- The Thermodynamic System and Its Environment
- The Third Law of Thermodynamics
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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