Sample Geology Research Paper on Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is a part of physics that explains ‘Energy’ in all its forms and characteristics. According to Arora (1998), thermodynamics explains the birth of the world considering that the big bang theory is centered on the premise of conversation of energy as indicated by the first law of thermodynamics. The principles of thermodynamics are guided by three primary regulations. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed but converted from one form to another (McCarthy, 2005). For example, energy in electricity form is converted to heat by the switch of a bulb. The second law posits that in all energy exchanges if there is no energy entering or exiting the system, the potential energy which is energy that has not yet been used, its state is less than that of the initial state (Arora, 1998). In other words, in the case energy is transformed from one state to another if not altered the initial potential energy reduces through every transformation. According to the third law of thermodynamics, developed by Walter Nernst, if one could reach absolute zero, all bodies would attain the same entropy (McCarthy, 2005). This implies that in when temperatures reach their minimum low and no heat remains (absolute zero) all bodies would achieve the same entropy.   

The comprehension of the laws of thermodynamics has been used extensively in the process of energy use, energy conversions, and the need for energy efficiency in various fields such as the automotive, aerospace as well as mechanical (electricity creation) industry.

Image 1: energy conversion

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Image 1 above is an example of how energy is used and converted. Wind is made up of kinetic energy, which is defined as energy in use (or motion). The turbine blades on a windmill transfer part of the kinetic energy of the wind into a motor (dynamo), which generates electric energy. This is a reference to the first law of thermodynamics in that the kinetic energy generated by the wind is not destroyed but converted to electric energy. Additionally, as indicated by the first law of thermodynamics, the sum of the kinetic energy exerted on the wind turbine blades plus the energy unused (low velocity) ought to be exactly equal to the energy of the wind before it hit the turbine blades (high velocity). In that case, there is no destruction of energy. Concerning Image 1, efficiency is attained by making sure that other forms of energy, such as heat generated by friction, are reduced while the surplus is converted to electric energy. 

Judging from Image 1, substantial wind energy goes to waste in the conversion of the kinetic energy OF wind to electric energy. Therefore, this indicates that wind energy is not reliable and proficient in its use. As indicated by Spilsbury and Spilsbury (2007), this form of energy is also inefficient by generating a large amount of electric energy considering the amount of kinetic energy required to convert such power. 

Solar energy is sourced from the sun. This form of energy is transmitted in the form of rays that are converted using solar cells. Photovoltaic panels convert the sunrays into electricity by exciting electrons in silicon cell using the photons of light from the sun (Viegas, 2006). Solar energy is the most renewable source of power today; however, it is not reliable because it is affected by weather.

Nuclear plants, similar to other plants that burn fossil fuels, produce electricity by boiling water and changing it into steam. The steam is then used to turn turbines. The process of nuclear fission converts potential energy from the nuclear material, for example, uranium, to kinetic energy and heat, which is used to turn turbines that then generate electric energy (McLeish, 2007). Additionally, the process of nuclear fission is the most efficient in converting potential energy into electric energy considering that limited energy is lost in the process. Nevertheless, nuclear fission is unstable and may cause accidents such as that viewed at Chernobyl.   

Hydroelectric energy is produced when water, particularly in dams, is used to turn turbines that generate electricity. The water in a dam stores potential energy that is converted into kinetic energy that turns turbines, which generate electric energy (Keiseret al,.2009). The conversion of energy is efficient considering the amount potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy is not proficient. Nevertheless, hydroelectric power is fairly reliable considering the effects of prolonged droughts. Moreover, hydroelectric energy is clean regarding carbon emissions. However, there are considerable negative effects on water creatures.

Fossil Fuel energy is considered the most reliable form energy. Indeed, it is known to have potential energy that is converted into heat that is used to power combustion engines or heat steam that is used to turn turbines. Fossil fuels energy are the most reliable form of energy. Additionally, most of the technology used today is well developed to use fossil fuels energy. However, Fossil fuels are made up of carbon. Consequently, they produce high amounts of pollutant fumes as they transfer their energy.    

References

Arora, C. P. (1998). Thermodynamics. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Pub.

Keiser, D., McGee, B., Wolfinsohn, S., &Triska, L. (2009). Frontiers: Differentiated curriculum for grade 6. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

McCarthy, R. (2005). The laws of thermodynamics: Understanding heat and energy transfers. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.

McLeish, E. (2007). Nuclear power: The pros and cons. New York: Rosen Central.

Spilsbury, R., &Spilsbury, L. (2007). The pros and cons of wind power. New York: Rosen Central.

Thomas, I. (2007). Solar power: The pros and cons. New York: Rosen Central.

Viegas, J. (2006). The role of the sun in our solar system: An anthology of current thought. New York: Rosen Pub. Group.