Physical Science - Other

Energy Loss Entropy

Payyan's image for:
"Energy Loss Entropy"
Image by: 

Energy Loss - Death and Decay

Have you ever thought why water flows down hill? Why it is easy to destruct but difficult to construct? Why death happens? Why relationships fail?

In nature while construction continues from one side, destruction goes on the other side. This is the true nature of universe. Natural forces of earth do the same. Endogenic process like earthquake, volcanoes and the like makes the earth's surface irregular making mountains and trenches, while the exogenic processes like rain, wind, rivers and glaciers levels up the irregularities of earth's surface by the action of cutting and filling (so called weathering, erosion and deposition)

The universe is composed of matter, energy and nothingness. Matter includes anything that has mass and occupies space and energy is the ability to cause change or do work. Nothingness is the reciprocal of matter and is in fact the absence of matter and energy.

According to the law of conservation of mass and energy, mass and energy can neither be created nor destroyed and hence nothingness too. The sum of mass, energy and nothingness in the universal system are a constant. Matter can be transformed from one form to another by using energy and energy can be converted from one form to another with the help of matter. Therefore, it is clear that the trinity was there and will continue to be there.

Matter is closely associated with energy. Matter and energy are equivalent. Albert Einstein expressed this relationship in the following equation,

E = mc2

As the equation shows, matter and energy are interconvertible. A tiny amount of matter transforms into a huge amount of energy, for example, in nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. Conversely, the mass equivalent of a unit of energy is minuscule, which is why a loss of energy from most systems is difficult to measure by weight, unless the energy loss is very large.

Examples of energy transformation into matter (particles) are found in high-energy nuclear physics. Particle accelerators convert energy into subatomic particles.

There are two types of energy states that matter can have. High-energy state is metastable, and is termed excited state. Low-energy state is called ground state and is permanently stable. A teacup in its actual shape and form is in high-energy metastable state. It is not unstable but metastable.

When it is broken into pieces, it changes to low-energy state and which is permanently stable. Energy tends to flow or change spontaneously from concentrated and ordered form to a more dispersed and disordered form.

Other examples of increasing disorder are:
a) A glass falls to the floor and shatters into a more disordered state

b) A dye crystal dropped into water spontaneously dissolves and spreads (dispersed and disordered state throughout the solution)

c) When we die, the highly ordered array of molecules decays to many smaller molecules that become dispersed throughout the environment

d) Smoke from a smokestack and exhaust from an auto disperse spontaneously to a more random or disordered state in the atmosphere

e) Pollutants dumped into a river spread spontaneously throughout the water.

Practically speaking, this means that energy flows down hill, from a higher state to a lower one. Therefore, it is always easier to destroy than construct, because to construct means accumulating energy onto a physical body, leading to a high-energy metastable condition.

While destruction is simply the releasing of accumulated energy, by which the body goes to low energy ground state. This explains the cause of destruction, weathering, death and decay of matter.

The past and future of the universe also exhibit the decaying energy states. It was observed and proved that the universe expands. Galaxies are moving away from each other. The distances between galaxies get greater each passing day. Imagine three galaxies A, B, and C as seen in the picture.

Day by day the triangle they form will grow bigger and bigger. If we rewind to the past, the beginning stage, the universe was in the form of single concentrated entity. That is the Planck epoch. That was the highest order and accumulation of energy.

Now the drifting away of galaxies indicates the energy drain of universe and the transformation from high order to disorder form. The energy loss will reach in the frozen death of the universe: the Big Freeze.

Let us shift from cosmic level to still smaller levels. Take the example of an electronic engineer, who designs a new electronic instrument. His imagination and thinking all are part of his bio-chemical energy. The accumulation of energy starts there. During the designing and preparing the prototype, the physical energy of body is accumulated on it.

In large scale production set up, the physical energy of labours, mechanical energy of machines and electrical energy, which runs the machines, all accumulates onto the equipment in production line.

Human relations also exemplify the same concept. Love, for example, between two persons decrease and decay in time. To be in love is a high- energy state. The quantity of total initial love and the rate of drain of love determine the life length of relationship. The higher the quantity of initial love and the lower the drain rate, the longer the life length of a relationship.

Moreover, to be in love is in fact high-energy, highly concentrated and highly ordered state, which is apparently metastable. The tendency to be transformed to the low energy, highly disordered but stable state is natural and that is the cause of failing human relations.

Birth and death of organic life forms are not different. During the gestation period bio-chemical energy is accumulated in the embryo and the embryo will develop a systematic and orderly structure. Until the peak of development organic body does the same. After a certain age, the body loses its ability to accumulate energy; instead it will start losing energy.

The body will gradually lose the structural integrity and systematic order. One day, the body will lose its energy and the body stem will start decay. These are the energy states of birth, life and death.

In fact, this is the second law of thermodynamics, which states that energy in a closed system flows from a state of higher concentration to a state of lower concentration. That is from orderliness to randomness. This is known by the name entropy. In our day to day life we keep on fighting against entropy. We do construction, while entropy causes destruction.


More about this author: Payyan

From Around the Web