Thermodynamics is the science of the dynamics of heat and the quantitative relationship between heat and other forms of energy. It is the basis for:

1. Analyzing and studying the transformation of energy from one form to another.

2. The use and availability of energy to do useful work.

3. The stability and equilibrium associated with chemical substances.

Thermodynamics relationships pertain to processes in which matter changes state or in equilibria in which matter remains fixed. The application of thermodynamic relationships are most frequently used in food processing operations that involve transferring heat and changing the state of materials.

Processing changes of state take place during heating and cooling, expanding and contracting, vaporizing and condensing, and when chemical reactions result from reactions in a food system. Since all forms of energy tend to change into heat, the quantitative measurement of temperature is a most important controlling factor in studying and controlling food systems.

There must always be a driving force or energy potential difference between two systems before a useful relationship can be realized. The end point of any process is reached when mechanical, physical, thermal, or chemical equilibrium is reached or when the two systems are disengaged. These concepts are embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics, the first law being the basis of the science.

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