Traditional thermodynamics has habitually put the cart ahead of the horse. The reality remains that an isobaric gaseous system tends to become more random when thermal energy is added, and by more random it is meant that the isobaric system’s volume has increased, hence work [P (atm) dV] is done. Of course that same gaseous system maybe both closed and constrained i.e. isometric thus the additional thermal energy results in an isochoric/isometric pressure increase, hence no work is actually done but the potential to do work increases.
Arnold Sommerfield was right (see quote to RHS). However, this author has come to realize that traditional thermodynamics is truly a complication of the simple. The science of how matter and energy interact should be a relatively simple science unfortunately it is an example of: "What a tangled web we weave, when at first we fail to perceive". I often compare thermodynamics to a computer that being something that starts with simple bits and bytes but has seemingly manifested itself into an unnecessarily excessively complex machine.
We scoff at some of the lunacies of our 17th,
18th and perhaps even 19th century predecessors. For example the concept of heat/fire being a particle i.e. phlogiston, is today likened
to the art of bloodletting. Seemingly humanity has come a long way in the last few hundred years, or has it? One may rightfully argue
that our minds are less than open at any other point in our history. This website is an investigation into why thermodynamics
is a poorly conceived science.
Certainly the powers in charge remain indignant to any notion of their science is not a first rate composition. Specifically, the indignity that one may be part of complicating the simple will feel too perverse to most of the indoctrinated. As Tolstoy quote points out (see RHS), human nature prevents the vast majority of us from questioning any elevated path that we have walked, especially once we have been bestowed with the applause of others.
Understandably, experts will adhere to their complicated circular arguments thus confusing both their critics while fooling themselves. And of course there is the retribution whereby the powers in charge threaten people’s very livelihood just to save face. A prime example being what happened to Paul Marmet (a proff at Ottawa University).
Just consider “entropy”. A term that is used in almost every realm of the sciences, yet it remains the thermodynamic parameter that lacks any real clarity. Consider Shannon’s information, wherein the word entropy was chosen over the word "information", in part because of this statement: "You should call it entropy for two reasons; in the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name so it already has a name. In the second place but more important, nobody knows what entropy is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage" [(John von Neumann's statement to Claude Shannon) Wikipedia "history of entropy" July 2017]
von Neumann's word could be taken as joke, but the
sad reality is it is serious science. It clearly shows that entropy remains a mathematical contrivance without any clarity
to its meaning. Sure such contrivances are used all the time but to have it as a fundamental cornerstone of a science is
walking a rather dangerous path, especially after 150 plus yrs. of use. Not to mention: Have you ever tried arguing against
an illogical concept that behold no real meaning? I liken it to fishing on a moonless night and not knowing where the lake
is. Sure your casts may be great, but so what when the lake is not where you thought, and your lure is left hung up in tree. Obviously
von Neumann knew what he was saying.
To belittle entropy is demeaning to anyone who does research wherein the term is used. I once exchanged emails with someone studying entropy production in chemical reactions. It all sounds great until a 5 yr old asks: What does entropy mean? Sure the researcher can deduce a convoluted answer that will leave any 5 yr old completely baffled, but what is the researcher really saying. When I once told the researcher that for the most part entropy is a complication of the simple, and that generally its production can be associated with the work lost by expanding systems displacing our atmosphere's mass, well that certainly ended our emails. Perhaps the indignity of the idea that his research was belittled hurts too much. Perhaps his computer failed and he is back to the pen and paper world. I really do not know what the real answer is.