Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics

The zeroth law of thermodynamics establishes the concept of temperature and thermal equilibrium. It serves as a foundation for temperature measurements and the construction of temperature scales. The zeroth law can be stated as follows:

“If two systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third system, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other.”

Here are some key points regarding the zeroth law:

  1. Thermal Equilibrium: Thermal equilibrium refers to a state in which two or more systems are at the same temperature and there is no net transfer of heat between them. When systems are in thermal equilibrium, there is no observable change in their macroscopic properties over time.
  2. Temperature: The zeroth law provides the basis for the concept of temperature. Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a system. It determines the direction of heat flow and allows for comparisons of thermal states between different systems.
  3. Establishing Temperature Scales: The zeroth law allows for the construction of temperature scales and the comparison of temperatures. It establishes the concept of thermal equilibrium as a fundamental basis for defining and measuring temperature.
  4. Transitive Property: The zeroth law also implies the transitive property of thermal equilibrium. If system A is in thermal equilibrium with system B, and system B is in thermal equilibrium with system C, then system A is in thermal equilibrium with system C. This property allows the establishment of a common reference point for temperature measurements.
  5. Temperature Measurement: The zeroth law enables the measurement of temperature using devices such as thermometers. By bringing a thermometer into thermal contact with a system, the thermometer reaches thermal equilibrium with the system, and its reading indicates the temperature of the system.
  6. Applications: The zeroth law has practical implications in various fields, including industrial processes, climate control, and thermal management. It ensures that heat transfer occurs in a controlled and predictable manner, allowing for the design and optimization of systems and devices.

The zeroth law of thermodynamics provides the foundation for temperature measurements, the establishment of temperature scales, and the concept of thermal equilibrium. It allows for the comparison of thermal states and serves as a basis for understanding heat transfer and thermal interactions in various systems.