Home Research findings Physicists at IIT Kanpur propose hydrodynamic entropy to explain 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Physicists at IIT Kanpur propose hydrodynamic entropy to explain 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

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Researchers from the Department of Physics, IIT Kanpur, have discovered that 2D Euler flow—flow with zero viscosity–evolves from disorder to order. The study involving analytical arguments and accurate numerical simulations provides useful insights that can help the manner in which scientists approach important fundamental topics such as order to disorder evolution, Second Law of Thermodynamics and thermalization, the process through which physical processes reach thermal equilibrium.  The hydrodynamic entropy proposed in the study, as per the researchers, may prove to be a useful tool for quantifying order in biological, hydrodynamic, astrophysical, ecological, and economic systems.

The study, “Hydrodynamic Entropy and Emergence of Order in Two-dimensional Euler Turbulence” by Prof. Mahendra Verma and research scholar Soumyadeep Chatterjee from the Department of Physics, IIT Kanpur, and published in Physical Review Fluids journal finds that 2D Euler flow evolves from disorder to order and that the system is out of equilibrium with an interesting energy exchange among the flow structures so as to violate the detailed energy balance. In fact, there is an inverse cascade of energy, which is responsible for the nonequilibrium behaviour of 2D Euler turbulence.They have shown that the hydrodynamic entropy of 2D Euler flow decreases with time during its approach to the asymptotic state. The duo has also found that the final state of the flow depends critically on the initial condition.

However, since the second law as the thermodynamic entropy remains constant during the evolution, the decrease in hydrodynamic entropy in 2D Euler flow is not a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The findings illustrate that the isolated dynamical system may evolve from disorder to order at macroscopic scales and that there is a need to be cautious of general claims on the “evolution from order to disorder” in any system. Based on their findings, Prof. Verma and Mr. Chatterjee believe that a similar evolution may occur in self-gravitating systems.

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