By Harold J. Morowitz
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Additional resources for Foundations of Bioenergetics
The refrigerator (acting contrary to the refrigerator statement of the second law) transfers an amount of heat Q — Wfvom the cold reservoir to the hot reservoir. 36 4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics heat Q from the hot reservoir, doing an amount of work W, and giving up an amount of heat Q — W to the cold reservoir. If the refrigerator could violate the refrigerator statement of the second law, it could transfer an amount of heat Q — W from the cold to the hot reservoir. The engine and refrigerator working together would then take up an amount of heat W from the hot reservoir and do an amount of work W and produce no other effect.
A measured amount of mechanical work has been done on the system. For historical reasons we represent the work done by the system as A W so that the work done on the system is — AW. Since energy is conserved, we must argue that AU = -AW (3-3) Thus the energy difference between these two particular states of the system can be measured since A W can be determined from the methods of mechanics. We next consider any two arbitrary equilibrium states / and / / of the system. If it were always possible to go from one state to another by external macroscopic mechanical work alone, then we could always measure the energy difference AWI7/, as is done above.
In such a case it will be impossible to retrace the pathway and the C. 39 Cycles transformation is designated an irreversible process. All real processes are irreversible, reversible changes being a limiting case. The idealization of reversibility is nevertheless an extremely important abstraction for equilibrium thermodynamics and it is critically important to the continued development of the subject. Consider fig. 4-4, which represents a P-θ diagram. Any path that can be represented on this diagram must be reversible, since points of well-defined P and Θ required to be represented on the graph are of necessity equilibrium points.
Foundations of Bioenergetics by Harold J. Morowitz