First Law of Thermodynamics

This simply states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed but can only be converted from one form to another.

ΔU = ΔW + ΔQ

where
ΔU = change in total internal energy
ΔW = work done
ΔQ = total heat supplied

Many equivalent statements are possible, including:


Historical Notes

Julius Robert von Mayer and James Joule shared the credit for the discovery of the universal law of conservation of energy, or the first law of thermodynamics.

  1. 1842 Mayer published an article on heat and energy. Joule made the same discovery while working independently.

See also: Energy, Heat, Joule, James Prescott, Mayer, Julius Robert von, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Third Law of Thermodynamics, Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics.

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Subjects: Thermodynamics