Irreversible transformation of energy into forms less capable of doing work / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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In thermodynamics, dissipation is the result of an irreversible process that takes place in homogeneous thermodynamic systems. In a dissipative process, energy (internal, bulk flow kinetic, or system potential) transforms from an initial form to a final form, where the capacity of the final form to do thermodynamic work is less than that of the initial form. For example, heat transfer is dissipative because it is a transfer of internal energy from a hotter body to a colder one. Following the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy varies with temperature (reduces the capacity of the combination of the two bodies to do work), but never decreases in an isolated system.
These processes produce entropy at a certain rate. The entropy production rate times ambient temperature gives the dissipated power. Important examples of irreversible processes are: heat flow through a thermal resistance, fluid flow through a flow resistance, diffusion (mixing), chemical reactions, and electric current flow through an electrical resistance (Joule heating).