Energy Thermodynamics

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Thermodynamics is made up of two Greek words: therme (heat) and dynamis (power). It is the science that describes the dynamics of heat and how it can be converted to power. Thermodynamics is a phenomenological theory derived from four very simple observations: 1) heat cannot flow between bodies of the same temperature; 2) heat and work are just two different forms of energy; 3) heat always flows from a hot body to a cold body; and 4) there is a temperature (called zero absolute temperature) that can never be reached. These observations have been refined and reformulated as the zeroth, first, second, and third laws of thermodynamics. These laws are important because they provide the basis for designing many machines and modern devices that change heat into work (such as an automobile engine or a power plant) or turn work into heat or cold (such as an electric heater or a refrigerator).


(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

El-Sayed, Y., The Thermodynamics of Energy Conversions, Elsevier Direct Science, 2003.

Cengel, Y. A., Heat Transfer: A Practical Approach, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1998.

Rifkin, J., Entropy, The Viking Press, 1980.

El-Wakil, M/ M., Power Plant Technology, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1984.

Energy and Buildings, Science Direct Elsevier Publishing Company. An international journal publishing articles about energy use in buildings and indoor environment quality.

Energy Conversion and Management, Science Direct Elsevier Publishing Company. This journal focuses on energy efficiency and management; heat pipes; space and terrestrial power systems; hydrogen production and storage; renewable energy; nuclear power; fuel cells and advanced batteries.

Energy and Buildings, Science Direct Elsevier Publishing Company, An international journal dedicated to investigations of energy use and efficiency in buildings.

External Links

How Things Work (

How Stuff Works (

California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center (