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Energy160-page2 - useful energy decreases when energy...

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Energy Flow in Cells - 2 The Two Laws of Thermodynamics The First Law of Thermodynamics states the amount of energy in any process is constant, meaning that energy can neither be created nor destroyed by ordinary processes. But energy can be, and is, converted from one form to another and between potential and kinetic. When we apply this law to living organisms (or any system) we say that the total amount of energy of a system and its surroundings remains constant, because energy transformations occur constantly. With each transformation within any system (such as the cells of your body) some energy escapes to the surroundings as heat energy. Which takes us to the second law. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says something like "the amount of
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Unformatted text preview: useful energy decreases when energy transformations occur", which means there is a tendency for all systems to reach the lowest possible energy or increase the amount of disorder in the system. This is the famous “entropy” law. Entropy is the measure of the amount of disorder (loss of higher level energy) in a system. Useful is the critical term here. The amount of energy doesn't change, but the ability of that energy to do the work we need accomplished diminishes. Most entropy is measured in increasing amounts of heat energy released by the system. We can also see increasing entropy when an organism decomposes. The decaying cells are far less "ordered" than when they were alive and functioning....
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