Energy changes - laws that govern them

At a cellular level or just about hanging around with friends, we all need energy. It would help to bear in mind, the Law of Conservation of Energy: the total amount of energy in the Universe is fixed ‐ energy cannot be created or destroyed but change from one form to another.

Look around and you can see energy being transformed from one form to another: sunlight hitting the plants, biological growth and decay and an animal at rest followed by a burst of speed to trap a prey. In fact, chemical energy present in substances can be converted to heat energy and electrical energy.

Knowing that energy cannot be created or destroyed is one thing, knowing the laws that govern the energy transformation are another. Well, the Laws of Thermodynamics govern the energy transformations. In brief, the two laws of thermodynamics state:

  • Law 1: Total energy of a closed system remains the same
  • Law 2: Entropy of a closed system which is not in thermal equilibrium always increases and therefore the total amount of disorder always increases

The field of electro‐chemistry is one of the many areas in which the principles of thermodynamics lead to some useful benefits. Consider batteries. Yes, the very same batteries that charge your mobile phone, keeps a pace maker ticking, and powers the eco friendly car.

Knowing all about chemical reactions, energy transformations, and the laws that govern them can lead you to doing something that benefits the world around you.