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Application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics To Explain the Working of Toys

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Escuela de Química, Universidad de Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, San José, 11501-2060, Costa Rica
Cite this: J. Chem. Educ. 2014, 91, 5, 687–691
Publication Date (Web):April 11, 2014
https://doi.org/10.1021/ed400085z
Copyright © 2014 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

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    Abstract

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    This teaching activity consists of challenging students to explain the working principle behind three scientific toys: a drinking bird, a radiometer, and a Stirling engine. The transformation of heat (q, thermal energy generated by a temperature difference) into work (w, mechanical energy manifested as motion) is implicit in the working of these toys. Such a transformation constitutes a central argument in the conceptual and historical development of entropy (S) and of the second law of thermodynamics (SLT). The observation and the understanding of the common working principles of these toys promoted a positive reaction by students toward the formal development of a conceptual understanding of the SLT and the concept of entropy.

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 2 publications.

    1. S. Sandi-Urena R. M. Romero J. Leitón Chacón . Chemical Education Research as an Emergent Scholarly Field in Costa Rica. 2018, 9-25. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-2018-1293.ch002
    2. Peter Chapman, Leslie Glasser. Drinking-Straw Microbalance and Seesaw: Stability and Instability. The Physics Teacher 2015, 53 (3) , 165-168. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4908087

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