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Consider a box containing a very small number of molecules say, five. It must sometimes happen by chance that all these molecules find themselves in the left half of the box, the right half being completely empty. This is simply the reverse free expansion, a process that we have declared to be irreversible. What is your explanation?

Consider a box containing a very small number of molecules say, five. It must sometimes happen by chance that all these molecules find themselves in the left half of the box, the right half being completely empty. This is simply the reverse free expansion, a process that we have declared to be irreversible. What is your explanation?

Grade:11

1 Answers

Aditi Chauhan
askIITians Faculty 396 Points
6 years ago
All microstates of a system are equally probable. For large values of N, nearly all the microstates correspond to an essentially equal division of the molecules between the two halves of the box. There is a chance that all of the molecules will find themselves in one of the box but, for large number of molecules, it is a vanishingly small one.
In accordance to question, these molecules find themselves in the left half of the box. It signifies that the systems tend toward configurations with the highest value of w- that is, toward configurations with the highest probability of occurrence. Thus the system tends toward configurations with the greatest entropy, as we know that, in an irreversible process the change in entropy of the system increases

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