High School Physics : Understanding the Third Law of Thermodynamics

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Physics

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Thermodynamics

An object can never reach absolute zero in a finite number of steps. Which of these laws supports this statement?

Possible Answers:

Newton's first law

Second law of thermodynamics

First law of thermodynamics

Third law of thermodynamics

This statement is not supported by a standard law of physics

Correct answer:

Third law of thermodynamics


The third law of thermodynamics states that it is impossible to decrease the temperature of a system to absolute zero in a finite number of steps. To do so would require that the entropy of the system also reaches zero, suggesting that the atoms cease vibrating in the material and it has zero net energy. Such a process is not possible.

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