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Q & A: scrounging work

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
If Energy neither created nor destroyed then can vibration,noise(form of energy) etc converted into useful work or energy????
- Naveen HC
Bangalore,Karnataka,India
A:
Yes, random vibrations can be converted to useful work. However, once those random vibrations have distributed their energy around so thoroughly among all the available modes that they can be described as 'thermal energy',  work can only be extracted from them if there are different things around with different temperatures. The fraction of the energy that can be extracted as work depends on how different the temperatures are.
The rules describing this are part of the basic laws of thermodynamics.

Mike W

(published on 10/22/2007)

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