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second law of thermo

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by thatscorrect7, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. thatscorrect7

    2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I was wondering if a refrigerator just does work to reverse to flow of heat energy?

    If a refrigerator is running in a closet, the temperature increases. Is this because the work doesn't go all the way with being converted to q?
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  3. futuredoctor10

    Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Resident [Any Field]
    No. Work must be done on the refrigerator to reverse the heat flow.

    A refrigerator (a form of a "heat pump") gets heat to flow from cold to hot, but this requires work.

    Temperature increases because the work done on the fridge takes the cold air and removes the heat from it. This heat must be released.
  4. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    As an addendum to what futuredoc said,

    The reason is because the refrigerator itself is not a perfect insulator. If it was, then the machine could remove the heat from the fridge compartment, and then stop as soon as the temp was at the desired level.

    Now, even if the fridge was a perfect insulator, because fridges are not 100% efficient, the fridge would still actually release more heat than it removes from the fridge. So fridges contribute to the overall heating of the planet! :p

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