Ambiguities in order-theoretic formulations of thermodynamics



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14030093

Abstract

Since the 1909 work of Carathéodory, an axiomatic approach to thermodynamics has gained ground which highlights the role of the the binary relation of adiabatic accessibility between equilibrium states. A feature of Carathédory's system is that the version therein of the second law contains an ambiguity about the nature of irreversible adiabatic processes, making it weaker than the traditional Kelvin-Planck statement of the law. This talk attempts first to clarify the nature of this ambiguity, by defining the arrow of time in thermodynamics by way of the Equilibrium Principle (``Minus First Law''). It then examines the extent to which the 1989 axiomatisation of Lieb and Yngvason shares the same ambiguity, despite proposing a very different approach to the second law.