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Thermodynamics Thermodynamics is the branch of the physical sciences that studies the transfer of heat and the interconversion of heat and work in various physical and chemical processesThe study of thermodynamics is central to both chemistry and physics and is becoming increasingly important in understanding biological and geological processes There are several subdisciplines within this blend of chemistry and physicsClassical thermodynamics considers the transfer of energy and work in macroscopic systems that iswithout any consideration of the nature of the forces and interactions between microscopic individual particlesStatistical thermodynamics on the other hand links the atomic nature of matter on miscroscopic level with the observed behaviour of materials on the macroscopic levelStatistical thermodynamics describes energy relationships based on the statistical behaviour of large groups of individual atoms or molecules and it relies heavily on the mathematical implications of quantum mechanics Chemical thermodynamics focuses on energy transfer during chemical reactions and on the work done by chemical systems Thermodynamics is limited in its scopeIt emphasizes the initial and the final state of a system--a given system being all of the components that interact in the process under study and the path or manner by which the ineteraction takes place DEVELOPMENT OF THERMODYNAMICS The early studies of thermodynamics were motivated by the desire to derive useful work from heat energyThe first reaction turbine was described by Hero of Alexandria It consisted of a pivoted copper sphere fitted with two bent nozzles and partially filled with water When the sphere was heated over a fire steam would escape from the nozzles and the sphere would rotateThe device was not designed to do useful work It was instead a curiousityand the nature of heat and heat transfer at that time remained mere speculation The changes that occur when substances burn were initially accounted forin the late 17th century by proposing the existence of an invisible material substance called phlogistonwhich was supposedly lost when combustion took place In 1789
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