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ADVEXON TV BBC Electricity is the physical flow of electrons, referred to as an electrical current. Electricity is an energy carrier that efficiently delivers the energy found in primary sources to end users, who in turn convert it into energy services.
Order and Disorder: What is Energy? (Jim Al-Khalili) Reel Truth Science Documentaries Professor Jim Al-Khalili discovers the intriguing story of how we discovered the rules that drive the universe. Energy is vital to us all, but what exactly is energy? In attempting to answer this question Jim investigates a strange set of laws that link together everything from engines to humans to stars. It turns out that energy, so critical to daily existence, actually helps us make sense of the entire universe. Professor Jim Al-Khalili investigates the important concepts of energy and information.
Read more : From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://wiki2.org/en/Renewable_energy
Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.
Can 100% renewable energy power the world? – Federico Rosei and Renzo Rosei
5 Inventions Showing Us the Future of Solar Energy SciShow When you imagine the energy of the future, solar power is probably in the picture – but in recent years, less than 2% of the world’s electricity has come from solar power. Here are 5 new inventions that are likely to change that.
Breakthrough in renewable energy – VPRO documentary vpro documentary223K subscribersSUBSCRIBEIt’s not in the papers but a silent revolution is moving across the world. Renewable energy is becoming cheaper than from fossil fuels. It means that progressively the choice for wind and solar energy is no longer an ethical one but an economic one. And this will speed up the transfer to renewable energy. In countries like Brazil, Australia, Chile and parts of the United States people consider renewable energy because of financial reasons. The price of solar and wind energy will continue to drop and in more countries renewable energy will occur. A surprising newcomer on the market is Morocco, where the government expects that in 2020 more than 40 percent of the energy could come from solar energy.
Is Nuclear Fusion The Answer To Clean Energy?
CNBC Nuclear power has a controversial history, but many energy experts say it has a major role to play in our energy future. Some in the industry are working to make standard fission power safer and cheaper. Others are pursuing the holy grail of energy – nuclear fusion, the process that powers the sun and the stars. If we figure out how to harness that power here on earth, it would be a huge game-changer.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the scalar physical quantity. For an overview of and topical guide to energy, see Outline of energy. For other uses, see Energy (disambiguation).”Energetic” redirects here. For other uses, see Energetic (disambiguation).
|The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. It derives its energy mainly from nuclear fusion in its core, converting mass to energy as protons are combined to form helium. This energy is transported to the sun’s surface then released into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.|
|Other units||kW⋅h, BTU, calorie, eV, erg, foot-pound|
|In SI base units||J = kg m2 s−2|
|Dimension||M L2 T−2|
In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.
Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object’s position in a force field (gravitational, electric or magnetic), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object’s temperature.
Mass and energy are closely related. Due to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary (called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy, and any additional energy (of any form) acquired by the object above that rest energy will increase the object’s total mass just as it increases its total energy. For example, after heating an object, its increase in energy could be measured as a small increase in mass, with a sensitive enough scale.
Living organisms require energy to stay alive, such as the energy humans get from food. Human civilization requires energy to function, which it gets from energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, or renewable energy. The processes of Earth’s climate and ecosystem are driven by the radiant energy Earth receives from the sun and the geothermal energy contained within the earth.
- 1 Forms
- 2 History
- 3 Units of measure
- 4 Scientific use
- 5 Transformation
- 6 Conservation of energy
- 7 Energy transfer
- 8 Thermodynamics
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
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The total energy of a system can be subdivided and classified into potential energy, kinetic energy, or combinations of the two in various ways. Kinetic energy is determined by the movement of an object – or the composite motion of the components of an object – and potential energy reflects the potential of an object to have motion, and generally is a function of the position of an object within a field or may be stored in the field itself.
While these two categories are sufficient to describe all forms of energy, it is often convenient to refer to particular combinations of potential and kinetic energy as its own form. For example, macroscopic mechanical energy is the sum of translational and rotational kinetic and potential energy in a system neglects the kinetic energy due to temperature, and nuclear energy which combines utilize potentials from the nuclear force and the weak force), among others.
|Type of energy||Description|
|Mechanical||the sum of macroscopic translational and rotational kinetic and potential energies|
|Electric||potential energy due to or stored in electric fields|
|Magnetic||potential energy due to or stored in magnetic fields|
|Gravitational||potential energy due to or stored in gravitational fields|
|Chemical||potential energy due to chemical bonds|
|Ionization||potential energy that binds an electron to its atom or molecule|
|Nuclear||potential energy that binds nucleons to form the atomic nucleus (and nuclear reactions)|
|Chromodynamic||potential energy that binds quarks to form hadrons|
|Elastic||potential energy due to the deformation of a material (or its container) exhibiting a restorative force|
|Mechanical wave||kinetic and potential energy in an elastic material due to a propagated deformational wave|
|Sound wave||kinetic and potential energy in a fluid due to a sound propagated wave (a particular form of mechanical wave)|
|Radiant||potential energy stored in the fields of propagated by electromagnetic radiation, including light|
|Rest||potential energy due to an object’s rest mass|
|Thermal||kinetic energy of the microscopic motion of particles, a form of disordered equivalent of mechanical energy|
Thomas Young, the first person to use the term “energy” in the modern sense.
The word energy derives from the Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια, romanized: energeia, lit. ‘activity, operation’, which possibly appears for the first time in the work of Aristotle in the 4th century BC. In contrast to the modern definition, energeia was a qualitative philosophical concept, broad enough to include ideas such as happiness and pleasure.
In the late 17th century, Gottfried Leibniz proposed the idea of the Latin: vis viva, or living force, which defined as the product of the mass of an object and its velocity squared; he believed that total vis viva was conserved. To account for slowing due to friction, Leibniz theorized that thermal energy consisted of the random motion of the constituent parts of matter, although it would be more than a century until this was generally accepted. The modern analog of this property, kinetic energy, differs from vis viva only by a factor of two.
In 1807, Thomas Young was possibly the first to use the term “energy” instead of vis viva, in its modern sense. Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis described “kinetic energy” in 1829 in its modern sense, and in 1853, William Rankine coined the term “potential energy“. The law of conservation of energy was also first postulated in the early 19th century, and applies to any isolated system. It was argued for some years whether heat was a physical substance, dubbed the caloric, or merely a physical quantity, such as momentum. In 1845 James Prescott Joule discovered the link between mechanical work and the generation of heat.
These developments led to the theory of conservation of energy, formalized largely by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) as the field of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics aided the rapid development of explanations of chemical processes by Rudolf Clausius, Josiah Willard Gibbs, and Walther Nernst. It also led to a mathematical formulation of the concept of entropy by Clausius and to the introduction of laws of radiant energy by Jožef Stefan. According to Noether’s theorem, the conservation of energy is a consequence of the fact that the laws of physics do not change over time. Thus, since 1918, theorists have understood that the law of conservation of energy is the direct mathematical consequence of the translational symmetry of the quantity conjugate to energy, namely time.
Units of measure
Joule’s apparatus for measuring the mechanical equivalent of heat. A descending weight attached to a string causes a paddle immersed in water to rotate.Main article: Units of energy
In 1843, Joule independently discovered the mechanical equivalent in a series of experiments. The most famous of them used the “Joule apparatus”: a descending weight, attached to a string, caused rotation of a paddle immersed in water, practically insulated from heat transfer. It showed that the gravitational potential energy lost by the weight in descending was equal to the internal energy gained by the water through friction with the paddle.
In the International System of Units (SI), the unit of energy is the joule, named after James Prescott Joule. It is a derived unit. It is equal to the energy expended (or work done) in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre. However energy is also expressed in many other units not part of the SI, such as ergs, calories, British Thermal Units, kilowatt-hours and kilocalories, which require a conversion factor when expressed in SI units.
The SI unit of energy rate (energy per unit time) is the watt, which is a joule per second. Thus, one joule is one watt-second, and 3600 joules equal one watt-hour. The CGS energy unit is the erg and the imperial and US customary unit is the foot pound. Other energy units such as the electronvolt, food calorie or thermodynamic kcal (based on the temperature change of water in a heating process), and BTU are used in specific areas of science and commerce.
In classical mechanics, energy is a conceptually and mathematically useful property, as it is a conserved quantity. Several formulations of mechanics have been developed using energy as a core concept.
Work, a function of energy, is force times distance.
This says that the work () is equal to the line integral of the force F along a path C; for details see the mechanical work article. Work and thus energy is frame dependent. For example, consider a ball being hit by a bat. In the center-of-mass reference frame, the bat does no work on the ball. But, in the reference frame of the person swinging the bat, considerable work is done on the ball.
The total energy of a system is sometimes called the Hamiltonian, after William Rowan Hamilton. The classical equations of motion can be written in terms of the Hamiltonian, even for highly complex or abstract systems. These classical equations have remarkably direct analogs in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics.
Another energy-related concept is called the Lagrangian, after Joseph-Louis Lagrange. This formalism is as fundamental as the Hamiltonian, and both can be used to derive the equations of motion or be derived from them. It was invented in the context of classical mechanics, but is generally useful in modern physics. The Lagrangian is defined as the kinetic energy minus the potential energy. Usually, the Lagrange formalism is mathematically more convenient than the Hamiltonian for non-conservative systems (such as systems with friction).
Noether’s theorem (1918) states that any differentiable symmetry of the action of a physical system has a corresponding conservation law. Noether’s theorem has become a fundamental tool of modern theoretical physics and the calculus of variations. A generalisation of the seminal formulations on constants of motion in Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics (1788 and 1833, respectively), it does not apply to systems that cannot be modeled with a Lagrangian; for example, dissipative systems with continuous symmetries need not have a corresponding conservation law.
In the context of chemistry, energy is an attribute of a substance as a consequence of its atomic, molecular or aggregate structure. Since a chemical transformation is accompanied by a change in one or more of these kinds of structure, it is invariably accompanied by an increase or decrease of energy of the substances involved. Some energy is transferred between the surroundings and the reactants of the reaction in the form of heat or light; thus the products of a reaction may have more or less energy than the reactants. A reaction is said to be exothermic or exergonic if the final state is lower on the energy scale than the initial state; in the case of endothermic reactions the situation is the reverse. Chemical reactions are almost invariably not possible unless the reactants surmount an energy barrier known as the activation energy. The speed of a chemical reaction (at given temperature T) is related to the activation energy E by the Boltzmann’s population factor e−E/kT – that is the probability of molecule to have energy greater than or equal to E at the given temperature T. This exponential dependence of a reaction rate on temperature is known as the Arrhenius equation. The activation energy necessary for a chemical reaction can be provided in the form of thermal energy.
In biology, energy is an attribute of all biological systems from the biosphere to the smallest living organism. Within an organism it is responsible for growth and development of a biological cell or an organelle of a biological organism. Energy used in respiration is mostly stored in molecular oxygen and can be unlocked by reactions with molecules of substances such as carbohydrates (including sugars), lipids, and proteins stored by cells. In human terms, the human equivalent (H-e) (Human energy conversion) indicates, for a given amount of energy expenditure, the relative quantity of energy needed for human metabolism, assuming an average human energy expenditure of 12,500 kJ per day and a basal metabolic rate of 80 watts. For example, if our bodies run (on average) at 80 watts, then a light bulb running at 100 watts is running at 1.25 human equivalents (100 ÷ 80) i.e. 1.25 H-e. For a difficult task of only a few seconds’ duration, a person can put out thousands of watts, many times the 746 watts in one official horsepower. For tasks lasting a few minutes, a fit human can generate perhaps 1,000 watts. For an activity that must be sustained for an hour, output drops to around 300; for an activity kept up all day, 150 watts is about the maximum. The human equivalent assists understanding of energy flows in physical and biological systems by expressing energy units in human terms: it provides a “feel” for the use of a given amount of energy.
Sunlight’s radiant energy is also captured by plants as chemical potential energy in photosynthesis, when carbon dioxide and water (two low-energy compounds) are converted into carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins and high-energy compounds like oxygen and ATP. Carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins can release the energy of oxygen, which is utilized by living organisms as an electron acceptor. Release of the energy stored during photosynthesis as heat or light may be triggered suddenly by a spark, in a forest fire, or it may be made available more slowly for animal or human metabolism, when organic molecules are ingested, and catabolism is triggered by enzyme action.
Any living organism relies on an external source of energy – radiant energy from the Sun in the case of green plants, chemical energy in some form in the case of animals – to be able to grow and reproduce. The daily 1500–2000 Calories (6–8 MJ) recommended for a human adult are taken as a combination of oxygen and food molecules, the latter mostly carbohydrates and fats, of which glucose (C6H12O6) and stearin (C57H110O6) are convenient examples. The food molecules are oxidised to carbon dioxide and water in the mitochondria 57CO2 + 55H2O}}}” src=”https://wikimedia.org/api/rest_v1/media/math/render/svg/cbec59e87f0dadd01a673253316bb27ef542c73c”>
The rest of the chemical energy in O2 and the carbohydrate or fat is converted into heat: the ATP is used as a sort of “energy currency”, and some of the chemical energy it contains is used for other metabolism when ATP reacts with OH groups and eventually splits into ADP and phosphate (at each stage of a metabolic pathway, some chemical energy is converted into heat). Only a tiny fraction of the original chemical energy is used for work:gain in kinetic energy of a sprinter during a 100 m race: 4 kJgain in gravitational potential energy of a 150 kg weight lifted through 2 metres: 3 kJDaily food intake of a normal adult: 6–8 MJ
It would appear that living organisms are remarkably inefficient (in the physical sense) in their use of the energy they receive (chemical or radiant energy), and it is true that most real machines manage higher efficiencies. In growing organisms the energy that is converted to heat serves a vital purpose, as it allows the organism tissue to be highly ordered with regard to the molecules it is built from. The second law of thermodynamics states that energy (and matter) tends to become more evenly spread out across the universe: to concentrate energy (or matter) in one specific place, it is necessary to spread out a greater amount of energy (as heat) across the remainder of the universe (“the surroundings”). Simpler organisms can achieve higher energy efficiencies than more complex ones, but the complex organisms can occupy ecological niches that are not available to their simpler brethren. The conversion of a portion of the chemical energy to heat at each step in a metabolic pathway is the physical reason behind the pyramid of biomass observed in ecology: to take just the first step in the food chain, of the estimated 124.7 Pg/a of carbon that is fixed by photosynthesis, 64.3 Pg/a (52%) are used for the metabolism of green plants, i.e. reconverted into carbon dioxide and heat.
In geology, continental drift, mountain ranges, volcanoes, and earthquakes are phenomena that can be explained in terms of energy transformations in the Earth’s interior, while meteorological phenomena like wind, rain, hail, snow, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes are all a result of energy transformations brought about by solar energy on the atmosphere of the planet Earth.
Sunlight may be stored as gravitational potential energy after it strikes the Earth, as (for example) water evaporates from oceans and is deposited upon mountains (where, after being released at a hydroelectric dam, it can be used to drive turbines or generators to produce electricity). Sunlight also drives many weather phenomena, save those generated by volcanic events. An example of a solar-mediated weather event is a hurricane, which occurs when large unstable areas of warm ocean, heated over months, give up some of their thermal energy suddenly to power a few days of violent air movement.
In a slower process, radioactive decay of atoms in the core of the Earth releases heat. This thermal energy drives plate tectonics and may lift mountains, via orogenesis. This slow lifting represents a kind of gravitational potential energy storage of the thermal energy, which may be later released to active kinetic energy in landslides, after a triggering event. Earthquakes also release stored elastic potential energy in rocks, a store that has been produced ultimately from the same radioactive heat sources. Thus, according to present understanding, familiar events such as landslides and earthquakes release energy that has been stored as potential energy in the Earth’s gravitational field or elastic strain (mechanical potential energy) in rocks. Prior to this, they represent release of energy that has been stored in heavy atoms since the collapse of long-destroyed supernova stars created these atoms.
In cosmology and astronomy the phenomena of stars, nova, supernova, quasars and gamma-ray bursts are the universe’s highest-output energy transformations of matter. All stellar phenomena (including solar activity) are driven by various kinds of energy transformations. Energy in such transformations is either from gravitational collapse of matter (usually molecular hydrogen) into various classes of astronomical objects (stars, black holes, etc.), or from nuclear fusion (of lighter elements, primarily hydrogen). The nuclear fusion of hydrogen in the Sun also releases another store of potential energy which was created at the time of the Big Bang. At that time, according to theory, space expanded and the universe cooled too rapidly for hydrogen to completely fuse into heavier elements. This meant that hydrogen represents a store of potential energy that can be released by fusion. Such a fusion process is triggered by heat and pressure generated from gravitational collapse of hydrogen clouds when they produce stars, and some of the fusion energy is then transformed into sunlight.
Main article: Energy operator
In quantum mechanics, energy is defined in terms of the energy operator as a time derivative of the wave function. The Schrödinger equation equates the energy operator to the full energy of a particle or a system. Its results can be considered as a definition of measurement of energy in quantum mechanics. The Schrödinger equation describes the space- and time-dependence of a slowly changing (non-relativistic) wave function of quantum systems. The solution of this equation for a bound system is discrete (a set of permitted states, each characterized by an energy level) which results in the concept of quanta. In the solution of the Schrödinger equation for any oscillator (vibrator) and for electromagnetic waves in a vacuum, the resulting energy states are related to the frequency by Planck’s relation: (where is Planck’s constant and the frequency). In the case of an electromagnetic wave these energy states are called quanta of light or photons.
When calculating kinetic energy (work to accelerate a massive body from zero speed to some finite speed) relativistically – using Lorentz transformations instead of Newtonian mechanics – Einstein discovered an unexpected by-product of these calculations to be an energy term which does not vanish at zero speed. He called it rest energy: energy which every massive body must possess even when being at rest. The amount of energy is directly proportional to the mass of the body:,
wherem is the mass of the body,c is the speed of light in vacuum, is the rest energy.
For example, consider electron–positron annihilation, in which the rest energy of these two individual particles (equivalent to their rest mass) is converted to the radiant energy of the photons produced in the process. In this system the matter and antimatter (electrons and positrons) are destroyed and changed to non-matter (the photons). However, the total mass and total energy do not change during this interaction. The photons each have no rest mass but nonetheless have radiant energy which exhibits the same inertia as did the two original particles. This is a reversible process – the inverse process is called pair creation – in which the rest mass of particles is created from the radiant energy of two (or more) annihilating photons.
In general relativity, the stress–energy tensor serves as the source term for the gravitational field, in rough analogy to the way mass serves as the source term in the non-relativistic Newtonian approximation.
Energy and mass are manifestations of one and the same underlying physical property of a system. This property is responsible for the inertia and strength of gravitational interaction of the system (“mass manifestations”), and is also responsible for the potential ability of the system to perform work or heating (“energy manifestations”), subject to the limitations of other physical laws.
In classical physics, energy is a scalar quantity, the canonical conjugate to time. In special relativity energy is also a scalar (although not a Lorentz scalar but a time component of the energy–momentum 4-vector). In other words, energy is invariant with respect to rotations of space, but not invariant with respect to rotations of space-time (= boosts).
Main article: Energy transformation
|Type of transfer process||Description|
|Heat||that amount of thermal energy in transit spontaneously towards a lower-temperature object|
|Work||that amount of energy in transit due to a displacement in the direction of an applied force|
|Transfer of material||that amount of energy carried by matter that is moving from one system to another|
A turbo generator transforms the energy of pressurised steam into electrical energy
Energy may be transformed between different forms at various efficiencies. Items that transform between these forms are called transducers. Examples of transducers include a battery, from chemical energy to electric energy; a dam: gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy of moving water (and the blades of a turbine) and ultimately to electric energy through an electric generator; or a heat engine, from heat to work.
Examples of energy transformation include generating electric energy from heat energy via a steam turbine, or lifting an object against gravity using electrical energy driving a crane motor. Lifting against gravity performs mechanical work on the object and stores gravitational potential energy in the object. If the object falls to the ground, gravity does mechanical work on the object which transforms the potential energy in the gravitational field to the kinetic energy released as heat on impact with the ground. Our Sun transforms nuclear potential energy to other forms of energy; its total mass does not decrease due to that in itself (since it still contains the same total energy even if in different forms), but its mass does decrease when the energy escapes out to its surroundings, largely as radiant energy.
There are strict limits to how efficiently heat can be converted into work in a cyclic process, e.g. in a heat engine, as described by Carnot’s theorem and the second law of thermodynamics. However, some energy transformations can be quite efficient. The direction of transformations in energy (what kind of energy is transformed to what other kind) is often determined by entropy (equal energy spread among all available degrees of freedom) considerations. In practice all energy transformations are permitted on a small scale, but certain larger transformations are not permitted because it is statistically unlikely that energy or matter will randomly move into more concentrated forms or smaller spaces.
Energy transformations in the universe over time are characterized by various kinds of potential energy that has been available since the Big Bang later being “released” (transformed to more active types of energy such as kinetic or radiant energy) when a triggering mechanism is available. Familiar examples of such processes include nuclear decay, in which energy is released that was originally “stored” in heavy isotopes (such as uranium and thorium), by nucleosynthesis, a process ultimately using the gravitational potential energy released from the gravitational collapse of supernovae, to store energy in the creation of these heavy elements before they were incorporated into the solar system and the Earth. This energy is triggered and released in nuclear fission bombs or in civil nuclear power generation. Similarly, in the case of a chemical explosion, chemical potential energy is transformed to kinetic energy and thermal energy in a very short time. Yet another example is that of a pendulum. At its highest points the kinetic energy is zero and the gravitational potential energy is at maximum. At its lowest point the kinetic energy is at maximum and is equal to the decrease of potential energy. If one (unrealistically) assumes that there is no friction or other losses, the conversion of energy between these processes would be perfect, and the pendulum would continue swinging forever.
Energy is also transferred from potential energy () to kinetic energy () and then back to potential energy constantly. This is referred to as conservation of energy. In this closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed; therefore, the initial energy and the final energy will be equal to each other. This can be demonstrated by the following:
The equation can then be simplified further since (mass times acceleration due to gravity times the height) and (half mass times velocity squared). Then the total amount of energy can be found by adding .
Conservation of energy and mass in transformation
Energy gives rise to weight when it is trapped in a system with zero momentum, where it can be weighed. It is also equivalent to mass, and this mass is always associated with it. Mass is also equivalent to a certain amount of energy, and likewise always appears associated with it, as described in mass-energy equivalence. The formula E = mc², derived by Albert Einstein (1905) quantifies the relationship between rest-mass and rest-energy within the concept of special relativity. In different theoretical frameworks, similar formulas were derived by J.J. Thomson (1881), Henri Poincaré (1900), Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1904) and others (see Mass-energy equivalence#History for further information).
Part of the rest energy (equivalent to rest mass) of matter may be converted to other forms of energy (still exhibiting mass), but neither energy nor mass can be destroyed; rather, both remain constant during any process. However, since is extremely large relative to ordinary human scales, the conversion of an everyday amount of rest mass (for example, 1 kg) from rest energy to other forms of energy (such as kinetic energy, thermal energy, or the radiant energy carried by light and other radiation) can liberate tremendous amounts of energy (~ joules = 21 megatons of TNT), as can be seen in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Conversely, the mass equivalent of an everyday amount energy is minuscule, which is why a loss of energy (loss of mass) from most systems is difficult to measure on a weighing scale, unless the energy loss is very large. Examples of large transformations between rest energy (of matter) and other forms of energy (e.g., kinetic energy into particles with rest mass) are found in nuclear physics and particle physics.
Reversible and non-reversible transformations
Thermodynamics divides energy transformation into two kinds: reversible processes and irreversible processes. An irreversible process is one in which energy is dissipated (spread) into empty energy states available in a volume, from which it cannot be recovered into more concentrated forms (fewer quantum states), without degradation of even more energy. A reversible process is one in which this sort of dissipation does not happen. For example, conversion of energy from one type of potential field to another, is reversible, as in the pendulum system described above. In processes where heat is generated, quantum states of lower energy, present as possible excitations in fields between atoms, act as a reservoir for part of the energy, from which it cannot be recovered, in order to be converted with 100% efficiency into other forms of energy. In this case, the energy must partly stay as heat, and cannot be completely recovered as usable energy, except at the price of an increase in some other kind of heat-like increase in disorder in quantum states, in the universe (such as an expansion of matter, or a randomisation in a crystal).
As the universe evolves in time, more and more of its energy becomes trapped in irreversible states (i.e., as heat or other kinds of increases in disorder). This has been referred to as the inevitable thermodynamic heat death of the universe. In this heat death the energy of the universe does not change, but the fraction of energy which is available to do work through a heat engine, or be transformed to other usable forms of energy (through the use of generators attached to heat engines), grows less and less.
Conservation of energy
Main article: Conservation of energy
The fact that energy can be neither created nor be destroyed is called the law of conservation of energy. In the form of the first law of thermodynamics, this states that a closed system‘s energy is constant unless energy is transferred in or out by work or heat, and that no energy is lost in transfer. The total inflow of energy into a system must equal the total outflow of energy from the system, plus the change in the energy contained within the system. Whenever one measures (or calculates) the total energy of a system of particles whose interactions do not depend explicitly on time, it is found that the total energy of the system always remains constant.
While heat can always be fully converted into work in a reversible isothermal expansion of an ideal gas, for cyclic processes of practical interest in heat engines the second law of thermodynamics states that the system doing work always loses some energy as waste heat. This creates a limit to the amount of heat energy that can do work in a cyclic process, a limit called the available energy. Mechanical and other forms of energy can be transformed in the other direction into thermal energy without such limitations. The total energy of a system can be calculated by adding up all forms of energy in the system.
Richard Feynman said during a 1961 lecture:
There is a fact, or if you wish, a law, governing all natural phenomena that are known to date. There is no known exception to this law – it is exact so far as we know. The law is called the conservation of energy. It states that there is a certain quantity, which we call energy, that does not change in manifold changes which nature undergoes. That is a most abstract idea, because it is a mathematical principle; it says that there is a numerical quantity which does not change when something happens. It is not a description of a mechanism, or anything concrete; it is just a strange fact that we can calculate some number and when we finish watching nature go through her tricks and calculate the number again, it is the same.— The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Most kinds of energy (with gravitational energy being a notable exception) are subject to strict local conservation laws as well. In this case, energy can only be exchanged between adjacent regions of space, and all observers agree as to the volumetric density of energy in any given space. There is also a global law of conservation of energy, stating that the total energy of the universe cannot change; this is a corollary of the local law, but not vice versa.
This law is a fundamental principle of physics. As shown rigorously by Noether’s theorem, the conservation of energy is a mathematical consequence of translational symmetry of time, a property of most phenomena below the cosmic scale that makes them independent of their locations on the time coordinate. Put differently, yesterday, today, and tomorrow are physically indistinguishable. This is because energy is the quantity which is canonical conjugate to time. This mathematical entanglement of energy and time also results in the uncertainty principle – it is impossible to define the exact amount of energy during any definite time interval. The uncertainty principle should not be confused with energy conservation – rather it provides mathematical limits to which energy can in principle be defined and measured.
Each of the basic forces of nature is associated with a different type of potential energy, and all types of potential energy (like all other types of energy) appears as system mass, whenever present. For example, a compressed spring will be slightly more massive than before it was compressed. Likewise, whenever energy is transferred between systems by any mechanism, an associated mass is transferred with it.
which is similar in form to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (but not really mathematically equivalent thereto, since H and t are not dynamically conjugate variables, neither in classical nor in quantum mechanics).
In particle physics, this inequality permits a qualitative understanding of virtual particles which carry momentum, exchange by which and with real particles, is responsible for the creation of all known fundamental forces (more accurately known as fundamental interactions). Virtual photons (which are simply lowest quantum mechanical energy state of photons) are also responsible for electrostatic interaction between electric charges (which results in Coulomb law), for spontaneous radiative decay of exited atomic and nuclear states, for the Casimir force, for van der Waals bond forces and some other observable phenomena.
Energy transfer can be considered for the special case of systems which are closed to transfers of matter. The portion of the energy which is transferred by conservative forces over a distance is measured as the work the source system does on the receiving system. The portion of the energy which does not do work during the transfer is called heat. Energy can be transferred between systems in a variety of ways. Examples include the transmission of electromagnetic energy via photons, physical collisions which transfer kinetic energy, and the conductive transfer of thermal energy.
Energy is strictly conserved and is also locally conserved wherever it can be defined. In thermodynamics, for closed systems, the process of energy transfer is described by the first law:
where is the amount of energy transferred, represents the work done on the system, and represents the heat flow into the system. As a simplification, the heat term, , is sometimes ignored, especially when the thermal efficiency of the transfer is high.
This simplified equation is the one used to define the joule, for example.
Beyond the constraints of closed systems, open systems can gain or lose energy in association with matter transfer (both of these process are illustrated by fueling an auto, a system which gains in energy thereby, without addition of either work or heat). Denoting this energy by , one may write
Internal energy is the sum of all microscopic forms of energy of a system. It is the energy needed to create the system. It is related to the potential energy, e.g., molecular structure, crystal structure, and other geometric aspects, as well as the motion of the particles, in form of kinetic energy. Thermodynamics is chiefly concerned with changes in internal energy and not its absolute value, which is impossible to determine with thermodynamics alone.
First law of thermodynamics
The first law of thermodynamics asserts that energy (but not necessarily thermodynamic free energy) is always conserved and that heat flow is a form of energy transfer. For homogeneous systems, with a well-defined temperature and pressure, a commonly used corollary of the first law is that, for a system subject only to pressure forces and heat transfer (e.g., a cylinder-full of gas) without chemical changes, the differential change in the internal energy of the system (with a gain in energy signified by a positive quantity) is given as,
where the first term on the right is the heat transferred into the system, expressed in terms of temperature T and entropy S (in which entropy increases and the change dS is positive when the system is heated), and the last term on the right hand side is identified as work done on the system, where pressure is P and volume V (the negative sign results since compression of the system requires work to be done on it and so the volume change, dV, is negative when work is done on the system).
This equation is highly specific, ignoring all chemical, electrical, nuclear, and gravitational forces, effects such as advection of any form of energy other than heat and pV-work. The general formulation of the first law (i.e., conservation of energy) is valid even in situations in which the system is not homogeneous. For these cases the change in internal energy of a closed system is expressed in a general form by
where is the heat supplied to the system and is the work applied to the system.
Equipartition of energy
The energy of a mechanical harmonic oscillator (a mass on a spring) is alternatively kinetic and potential energy. At two points in the oscillation cycle it is entirely kinetic, and at two points it is entirely potential. Over the whole cycle, or over many cycles, net energy is thus equally split between kinetic and potential. This is called equipartition principle; total energy of a system with many degrees of freedom is equally split among all available degrees of freedom.
This principle is vitally important to understanding the behaviour of a quantity closely related to energy, called entropy. Entropy is a measure of evenness of a distribution of energy between parts of a system. When an isolated system is given more degrees of freedom (i.e., given new available energy states that are the same as existing states), then total energy spreads over all available degrees equally without distinction between “new” and “old” degrees. This mathematical result is called the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics is valid only for systems which are near or in equilibrium state. For non-equilibrium systems, the laws governing system’s behavior are still debatable. One of the guiding principles for these systems is the principle of maximum entropy production. It states that nonequilibrium systems behave in such a way to maximize its entropy production
The Inner Chronicle of What We Are – Understanding Werner Herzog An examination of Sunshine and its visceral presentation of themes of life, death and meaning.
SUNSHINE movie (2007) EXPLORED FilmComicsExplained Sunshine is a 2007 sci-fi thriller directed by Danny Boyle. Featuring an international star-studded cast, including Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rosy Byrne, Benedict Wong, Cliff Curtis, Mark Strong and Hiroyuki Sanada; the film takes place in the year 2057 and follows a group of specialised scientists who embark on a last-ditch effort to re-ignite a dying Sun and save the Earth from Extinction.
“Summer Sunshine” Peaceful Relaxing Instrumental Music, Meditation Nature Music “Summer Sunshine” by Tim Janis
The Sun Shines On The Trees (HD1080p ) MrBangthamai
Winds and waves heading for the bright future! (HD1080p) MrBangthamai
Love the sun like every sunflower (HD1080p) MrBangthamai
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun, in particular infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. On Earth, sunlight is scattered and filtered through Earth’s atmosphere, and is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon. When direct solar radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine, a combination of bright light and radiant heat. When blocked by clouds or reflected off other objects, sunlight is diffused. The World Meteorological Organization uses the term “sunshine duration” to mean the cumulative time during which an area receives direct irradiance from the Sun of at least 120 watts per square meter. Other sources indicate an “Average over the entire earth” of “164 Watts per square meter over a 24 hour day”.
Sunlight takes about 8.3 minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun. A photon starting at the center of the Sun and changing direction every time it encounters a charged particle would take between 10,000 and 170,000 years to get to the surface.
Sunlight is a key factor in photosynthesis, the process used by plants and other autotrophic organisms to convert light energy, normally from the Sun, into chemical energy that can be used to synthesize carbohydrates and to fuel the organisms’ activities.
- 1 Measurement
- 2 Composition and power
- 3 Solar constant
- 4 Total solar irradiance (TSI) and spectral solar irradiance (SSI) upon Earth
- 5 Intensity in the Solar System
- 6 Surface illumination
- 7 Variations in solar irradiance
- 8 Life on Earth
- 9 Cultural aspects
- 10 Effects on human health
- 11 Effect on plant genomes
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
- ✪ Radiation from the Sun and Earth
- ✪ Sunlight through a prism (aka electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum)
- ✪ Unit 4 Climate Ch-9 Solar Radiation heat Budget and Temperature part 2
- ✪ The Earth’s Energy Balance
- ✪ 106 – Grasshopper & Ladybug – Verifying Parametric Shading Blocks Sunlight with Radiation Analysis
Researchers can measure the intensity of sunlight using a sunshine recorder, pyranometer, or pyrheliometer. To calculate the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, both the eccentricity of Earth’s elliptic orbit and the attenuation by Earth’s atmosphere have to be taken into account. The extraterrestrial solar illuminance (Eext), corrected for the elliptic orbit by using the day number of the year (dn), is given to a good approximation by
where dn=1 on January 1; dn=32 on February 1; dn=59 on March 1 (except on leap years, where dn=60), etc. In this formula dn–3 is used, because in modern times Earth’s perihelion, the closest approach to the Sun and, therefore, the maximum Eext occurs around January 3 each year. The value of 0.033412 is determined knowing that the ratio between the perihelion (0.98328989 AU) squared and the aphelion (1.01671033 AU) squared should be approximately 0.935338.
The solar illuminance constant (Esc), is equal to 128×103 lux. The direct normal illuminance (Edn), corrected for the attenuating effects of the atmosphere is given by:
The total amount of energy received at ground level from the Sun at the zenith depends on the distance to the Sun and thus on the time of year. It is about 3.3% higher than average in January and 3.3% lower in July (see below). If the extraterrestrial solar radiation is 1367 watts per square meter (the value when the Earth–Sun distance is 1 astronomical unit), then the direct sunlight at Earth’s surface when the Sun is at the zenith is about 1050 W/m2, but the total amount (direct and indirect from the atmosphere) hitting the ground is around 1120 W/m2. In terms of energy, sunlight at Earth’s surface is around 52 to 55 percent infrared (above 700 nm), 42 to 43 percent visible (400 to 700 nm), and 3 to 5 percent ultraviolet (below 400 nm). At the top of the atmosphere, sunlight is about 30% more intense, having about 8% ultraviolet (UV), with most of the extra UV consisting of biologically damaging short-wave ultraviolet.
Direct sunlight has a luminous efficacy of about 93 lumens per watt of radiant flux. Multiplying the figure of 1050 watts per square meter by 93 lumens per watt indicates that bright sunlight provides an illuminance of approximately 98 000 lux (lumens per square meter) on a perpendicular surface at sea level. The illumination of a horizontal surface will be considerably less than this if the Sun is not very high in the sky. Averaged over a day, the highest amount of sunlight on a horizontal surface occurs in January at the South Pole (see insolation).
Dividing the irradiance of 1050 W/m2 by the size of the Sun’s disk in steradians gives an average radiance of 15.4 MW per square metre per steradian. (However, the radiance at the center of the sun’s disk is somewhat higher than the average over the whole disk due to limb darkening.) Multiplying this by π gives an upper limit to the irradiance which can be focused on a surface using mirrors: 48.5 MW/m2.
Composition and power
Solar irradiance spectrum above atmosphere and at surface. Extreme UV and X-rays are produced (at left of wavelength range shown) but comprise very small amounts of the Sun’s total output power.See also: Ultraviolet, Infrared, and Light
The spectrum of the Sun’s solar radiation is close to that of a black body with a temperature of about 5,800 K. The Sun emits EM radiation across most of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although the Sun produces gamma rays as a result of the nuclear-fusion process, internal absorption and thermalization convert these super-high-energy photons to lower-energy photons before they reach the Sun’s surface and are emitted out into space. As a result, the Sun does not emit gamma rays from this process, but it does emit gamma rays from solar flares. The Sun also emits X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and even radio waves; the only direct signature of the nuclear process is the emission of neutrinos.
Although the solar corona is a source of extreme ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, these rays make up only a very small amount of the power output of the Sun (see spectrum at right). The spectrum of nearly all solar electromagnetic radiation striking the Earth’s atmosphere spans a range of 100 nm to about 1 mm (1,000,000 nm). This band of significant radiation power can be divided into five regions in increasing order of wavelengths:
- Ultraviolet C or (UVC) range, which spans a range of 100 to 280 nm. The term ultraviolet refers to the fact that the radiation is at higher frequency than violet light (and, hence, also invisible to the human eye). Due to absorption by the atmosphere very little reaches Earth’s surface. This spectrum of radiation has germicidal properties, as used in germicidal lamps.
- Ultraviolet B or (UVB) range spans 280 to 315 nm. It is also greatly absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, and along with UVC causes the photochemical reaction leading to the production of the ozone layer. It directly damages DNA and causes sunburn, but is also required for vitamin D synthesis in the skin of mammals.
- Ultraviolet A or (UVA) spans 315 to 400 nm. This band was once held to be less damaging to DNA, and hence is used in cosmetic artificial sun tanning (tanning booths and tanning beds) and PUVA therapy for psoriasis. However, UVA is now known to cause significant damage to DNA via indirect routes (formation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species), and can cause cancer.
- Visible range or light spans 380 to 700 nm. As the name suggests, this range is visible to the naked eye. It is also the strongest output range of the Sun’s total irradiance spectrum.
- Infrared range that spans 700 nm to 1,000,000 nm (1 mm). It comprises an important part of the electromagnetic radiation that reaches Earth. Scientists divide the infrared range into three types on the basis of wavelength:
- Infrared-A: 700 nm to 1,400 nm
- Infrared-B: 1,400 nm to 3,000 nm
- Infrared-C: 3,000 nm to 1 mm.
Tables of direct solar radiation on various slopes from 0 to 60 degrees north latitude, in calories per square centimetre, issued in 1972 and published by Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Portland, Oregon, USA, appear on the web.
Main article: Solar constant
Solar irradiance spectrum at top of atmosphere, on a linear scale and plotted against wavenumber
The solar constant is a measure of flux density, is the amount of incoming solar electromagnetic radiation per unit area that would be incident on a plane perpendicular to the rays, at a distance of one astronomical unit (AU) (roughly the mean distance from the Sun to Earth). The “solar constant” includes all types of solar radiation, not just the visible light. Its average value was thought to be approximately 1366 W/m², varying slightly with solar activity, but recent recalibrations of the relevant satellite observations indicate a value closer to 1361 W/m² is more realistic.
Total solar irradiance (TSI) and spectral solar irradiance (SSI) upon Earth
Since 1978 a series of overlapping NASA and ESA satellite experiments have measured total solar irradiance (TSI) – the amount of solar radiation received at the top of Earth’s atmosphere – as 1.365 kilowatts per square meter (kW/m²). TSI observations continue with the ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3, SOHO/VIRGO and SORCE/TIM satellite experiments. Observations have revealed variation of TSI on many timescales, including the solar magnetic cycle and many shorter periodic cycles. TSI provides the energy that drives Earth’s climate, so continuation of the TSI time-series database is critical to understanding the role of solar variability in climate change.
Since 2003 the SORCE Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) has monitored Spectral solar irradiance (SSI) – the spectral distribution of the TSI. Data indicate that SSI at UV (ultraviolet) wavelength corresponds in a less clear, and probably more complicated fashion, with Earth’s climate responses than earlier assumed, fueling broad avenues of new research in “the connection of the Sun and stratosphere, troposphere, biosphere, ocean, and Earth’s climate”.
Intensity in the Solar System
Sunlight on Mars is dimmer than on Earth. This photo of a Martian sunset was imaged by Mars Pathfinder.
Different bodies of the Solar System receive light of an intensity inversely proportional to the square of their distance from Sun.
A table comparing the amount of solar radiation received by each planet in the Solar System at the top of its atmosphere:
|Planet or dwarf planet||distance (AU)||Solar radiation (W/m²)|
The actual brightness of sunlight that would be observed at the surface also depends on the presence and composition of an atmosphere. For example, Venus’s thick atmosphere reflects more than 60% of the solar light it receives. The actual illumination of the surface is about 14,000 lux, comparable to that on Earth “in the daytime with overcast clouds”.
Sunlight on Mars would be more or less like daylight on Earth during a slightly overcast day, and, as can be seen in the pictures taken by the rovers, there is enough diffuse sky radiation that shadows would not seem particularly dark. Thus, it would give perceptions and “feel” very much like Earth daylight. The spectrum on the surface is slightly redder than that on Earth, due to scattering by reddish dust in the Martian atmosphere.
For comparison, sunlight on Saturn is slightly brighter than Earth sunlight at the average sunset or sunrise (see daylight for comparison table). Even on Pluto, the sunlight would still be bright enough to almost match the average living room. To see sunlight as dim as full moonlight on Earth, a distance of about 500 AU (~69 light-hours) is needed; only a handful of objects in the Solar System have been discovered that are known to orbit farther than such a distance, among them 90377 Sedna and (87269) 2000 OO67.
The spectrum of surface illumination depends upon solar elevation due to atmospheric effects, with the blue spectral component dominating during twilight before and after sunrise and sunset, respectively, and red dominating during sunrise and sunset. These effects are apparent in natural light photography where the principal source of illumination is sunlight as mediated by the atmosphere.
While the color of the sky is usually determined by Rayleigh scattering, an exception occurs at sunset and twilight. “Preferential absorption of sunlight by ozone over long horizon paths gives the zenith sky its blueness when the sun is near the horizon”.
See diffuse sky radiation for more details.
Spectral composition of sunlight at Earth’s surface
The Sun may be said to illuminate, which is a measure of the light within a specific sensitivity range. Many animals (including humans) have a sensitivity range of approximately 400–700 nm, and given optimal conditions the absorption and scattering by Earth’s atmosphere produces illumination that approximates an equal-energy illuminant for most of this range. The useful range for color vision in humans, for example, is approximately 450–650 nm. Aside from effects that arise at sunset and sunrise, the spectral composition changes primarily in respect to how directly sunlight is able to illuminate. When illumination is indirect, Rayleigh scattering in the upper atmosphere will lead blue wavelengths to dominate. Water vapour in the lower atmosphere produces further scattering and ozone, dust and water particles will also absorb particular wavelengths.Spectrum of the visible wavelengths at approximately sea level; illumination by direct sunlight compared with direct sunlight scattered by cloud cover and with indirect sunlight by varying degrees of cloud cover. The yellow line shows the spectrum of direct illumination under optimal conditions. The other illumination conditions are scaled to show their relation to direct illumination. The units of spectral power are simply raw sensor values (with a linear response at specific wavelengths).
Variations in solar irradiance
Seasonal and orbital variation
On Earth, the solar radiation varies with the angle of the Sun above the horizon, with longer sunlight duration at high latitudes during summer, varying to no sunlight at all in winter near the pertinent pole. When the direct radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine. The warming of the ground (and other objects) depends on the absorption of the electromagnetic radiation in the form of heat.
The amount of radiation intercepted by a planetary body varies inversely with the square of the distance between the star and the planet. Earth’s orbit and obliquity change with time (over thousands of years), sometimes forming a nearly perfect circle, and at other times stretching out to an orbital eccentricity of 5% (currently 1.67%). As the orbital eccentricity changes, the average distance from the Sun (the semimajor axis does not significantly vary, and so the total insolation over a year remains almost constant due to Kepler’s second law,
where is the “areal velocity” invariant. That is, the integration over the orbital period (also invariant) is a constant.
If we assume the solar radiation power P as a constant over time and the solar irradiation given by the inverse-square law, we obtain also the average insolation as a constant.
But the seasonal and latitudinal distribution and intensity of solar radiation received at Earth’s surface does vary. The effect of Sun angle on climate results in the change in solar energy in summer and winter. For example, at latitudes of 65 degrees, this can vary by more than 25% as a result of Earth’s orbital variation. Because changes in winter and summer tend to offset, the change in the annual average insolation at any given location is near zero, but the redistribution of energy between summer and winter does strongly affect the intensity of seasonal cycles. Such changes associated with the redistribution of solar energy are considered a likely cause for the coming and going of recent ice ages (see: Milankovitch cycles).
Solar intensity variation
Further information: Solar variation
Space-based observations of solar irradiance started in 1978. These measurements show that the solar constant is not constant. It varies on many time scales, including the 11-year sunspot solar cycle. When going further back in time, one has to rely on irradiance reconstructions, using sunspots for the past 400 years or cosmogenic radionuclides for going back 10,000 years. Such reconstructions have been done. These studies show that in addition to the solar irradiance variation with the solar cycle (the (Schwabe) cycle), the solar activity varies with longer cycles, such as the proposed 88 year (Gleisberg cycle), 208 year (DeVries cycle) and 1,000 year (Eddy cycle).
Life on Earth
The existence of nearly all life on Earth is fueled by light from the Sun. Most autotrophs, such as plants, use the energy of sunlight, combined with carbon dioxide and water, to produce simple sugars—a process known as photosynthesis. These sugars are then used as building-blocks and in other synthetic pathways that allow the organism to grow.
Heterotrophs, such as animals, use light from the Sun indirectly by consuming the products of autotrophs, either by consuming autotrophs, by consuming their products, or by consuming other heterotrophs. The sugars and other molecular components produced by the autotrophs are then broken down, releasing stored solar energy, and giving the heterotroph the energy required for survival. This process is known as cellular respiration.
In prehistory, humans began to further extend this process by putting plant and animal materials to other uses. They used animal skins for warmth, for example, or wooden weapons to hunt. These skills allowed humans to harvest more of the sunlight than was possible through glycolysis alone, and human population began to grow.
During the Neolithic Revolution, the domestication of plants and animals further increased human access to solar energy. Fields devoted to crops were enriched by inedible plant matter, providing sugars and nutrients for future harvests. Animals that had previously provided humans with only meat and tools once they were killed were now used for labour throughout their lives, fueled by grasses inedible to humans.
The more recent discoveries of coal, petroleum and natural gas are modern extensions of this trend. These fossil fuels are the remnants of ancient plant and animal matter, formed using energy from sunlight and then trapped within Earth for millions of years. Because the stored energy in these fossil fuels has accumulated over many millions of years, they have allowed modern humans to massively increase the production and consumption of primary energy. As the amount of fossil fuel is large but finite, this cannot continue indefinitely, and various theories exist as to what will follow this stage of human civilization (e.g., alternative fuels, Malthusian catastrophe, new urbanism, peak oil).
Téli verőfény (“Winter Sunshine”) by László Mednyánszky, early 20th century
Many people find direct sunlight to be too bright for comfort, especially when reading from white paper upon which the sunlight is directly shining. Indeed, looking directly at the Sun can cause long-term vision damage. To compensate for the brightness of sunlight, many people wear sunglasses. Cars, many helmets and caps are equipped with visors to block the Sun from direct vision when the Sun is at a low angle. Sunshine is often blocked from entering buildings through the use of walls, window blinds, awnings, shutters, curtains, or nearby shade trees. Sunshine exposure is needed biologically for the creation of Vitamin D in the skin, a vital compound needed to make strong bone and muscle in the body.
In colder countries, many people prefer sunnier days and often avoid the shade. In hotter countries, the converse is true; during the midday hours, many people prefer to stay inside to remain cool. If they do go outside, they seek shade that may be provided by trees, parasols, and so on.
Main article: Sun tanning
Sunbathing is a popular leisure activity in which a person sits or lies in direct sunshine. People often sunbathe in comfortable places where there is ample sunlight. Some common places for sunbathing include beaches, open air swimming pools, parks, gardens, and sidewalk cafes. Sunbathers typically wear limited amounts of clothing or some simply go nude. For some, an alternative to sunbathing is the use of a sunbed that generates ultraviolet light and can be used indoors regardless of weather conditions. Tanning beds have been banned in a number of states in the world.
For many people with light skin, one purpose for sunbathing is to darken one’s skin color (get a sun tan), as this is considered in some cultures to be attractive, associated with outdoor activity, vacations/holidays, and health. Some people prefer naked sunbathing so that an “all-over” or “even” tan can be obtained, sometimes as part of a specific lifestyle.
Skin tanning is achieved by an increase in the dark pigment inside skin cells called melanocytes, and is an automatic response mechanism of the body to sufficient exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun or from artificial sunlamps. Thus, the tan gradually disappears with time, when one is no longer exposed to these sources.
Effects on human health
Main article: Health effects of sunlight exposure
The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight has both positive and negative health effects, as it is both a principal source of vitamin D3 and a mutagen. A dietary supplement can supply vitamin D without this mutagenic effect, but bypasses natural mechanisms that would prevent overdoses of vitamin D generated internally from sunlight. Vitamin D has a wide range of positive health effects, which include strengthening bones and possibly inhibiting the growth of some cancers. Sun exposure has also been associated with the timing of melatonin synthesis, maintenance of normal circadian rhythms, and reduced risk of seasonal affective disorder.
Long-term sunlight exposure is known to be associated with the development of skin cancer, skin aging, immune suppression, and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Short-term overexposure is the cause of sunburn, snow blindness, and solar retinopathy.
UV rays, and therefore sunlight and sunlamps, are the only listed carcinogens that are known to have health benefits, and a number of public health organizations state that there needs to be a balance between the risks of having too much sunlight or too little. There is a general consensus that sunburn should always be avoided.
Epidemiological data shows that people who have more exposure to sunlight have less high blood pressure and cardiovascular-related mortality. While sunlight (and its UV rays) are a risk factor for skin cancer, “sun avoidance may carry more of a cost than benefit for over-all good health.” A study found that there is no evidence that UV reduces lifespan in contrast to other risk factors like smoking, alcohol and high blood pressure.
Effect on plant genomes
Elevated solar UV-B doses increase the frequency of DNA recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants. These increases are accompanied by strong induction of an enzyme with a key role in recombinational repair of DNA damage. Thus the level of terrestrial solar UV-B radiation likely affects genome stability in plants.
Classes of fire
- Class A – fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.
- Class B – fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils.
- Class C – fires involving gases.
- Class D – fires involving metals.
- Class E – fires involving live electrical apparatus. (Technically ‘Class E’ doesn’t exists however this is used for convenience here)
- Class F – fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An outdoor wood firePlay mediaThe ignition and extinguishing of a pile of wood shavingsPlay mediaThe fire maps show the locations of actively burning fires around the world on a monthly basis, based on observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The colors are based on a count of the number (not size) of fires observed within a 1,000-square-kilometer area. White pixels show the high end of the count—as many as 100 fires in a 1,000-square-kilometer area per day. Yellow pixels show as many as 10 fires, orange shows as many as five fires, and red areas as few as one fire per day.
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Fire is hot because the conversion of the weak double bond in molecular oxygen, O2, to the stronger bonds in the combustion products carbon dioxide and water releases energy (418 kJ per 32 g of O2); the bond energies of the fuel play only a minor role here. At a certain point in the combustion reaction, called the ignition point, flames are produced. The flame is the visible portion of the fire. Flames consist primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen and nitrogen. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire’s intensity will be different.
Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning. Fire is an important process that affects ecological systems around the globe. The positive effects of fire include stimulating growth and maintaining various ecological systems. Its negative effects include hazard to life and property, atmospheric pollution, and water contamination. If fire removes protective vegetation, heavy rainfall may lead to an increase in soil erosion by water. Also, when vegetation is burned, the nitrogen it contains is released into the atmosphere, unlike elements such as potassium and phosphorus which remain in the ash and are quickly recycled into the soil. This loss of nitrogen caused by a fire produces a long-term reduction in the fertility of the soil, but this fecundity can potentially be recovered as molecular nitrogen in the atmosphere is “fixed” and converted to ammonia by natural phenomena such as lightning and by leguminous plants that are “nitrogen-fixing” such as clover, peas, and green beans.
Fire has been used by humans in rituals, in agriculture for clearing land, for cooking, generating heat and light, for signaling, propulsion purposes, smelting, forging, incineration of waste, cremation, and as a weapon or mode of destruction.
- 1 Physical properties
- 2 Fire ecology
- 3 Fossil record
- 4 Human control
- 5 Protection and prevention
- 6 Restoration
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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Fires start when a flammable or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction. This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron. Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions. Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not consumed, when added, in any chemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily.
Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.
If the oxidizer is oxygen from the surrounding air, the presence of a force of gravity, or of some similar force caused by acceleration, is necessary to produce convection, which removes combustion products and brings a supply of oxygen to the fire. Without gravity, a fire rapidly surrounds itself with its own combustion products and non-oxidizing gases from the air, which exclude oxygen and extinguish the fire. Because of this, the risk of fire in a spacecraft is small when it is coasting in inertial flight. This does not apply if oxygen is supplied to the fire by some process other than thermal convection.
Fire can be extinguished by removing any one of the elements of the fire tetrahedron. Consider a natural gas flame, such as from a stove-top burner. The fire can be extinguished by any of the following:
- turning off the gas supply, which removes the fuel source;
- covering the flame completely, which smothers the flame as the combustion both uses the available oxidizer (the oxygen in the air) and displaces it from the area around the flame with CO2;
- application of water, which removes heat from the fire faster than the fire can produce it (similarly, blowing hard on a flame will displace the heat of the currently burning gas from its fuel source, to the same end), or
- application of a retardant chemical such as Halon to the flame, which retards the chemical reaction itself until the rate of combustion is too slow to maintain the chain reaction.
In contrast, fire is intensified by increasing the overall rate of combustion. Methods to do this include balancing the input of fuel and oxidizer to stoichiometric proportions, increasing fuel and oxidizer input in this balanced mix, increasing the ambient temperature so the fire’s own heat is better able to sustain combustion, or providing a catalyst, a non-reactant medium in which the fuel and oxidizer can more readily react.
Fire is affected by gravity. Left: Flame on Earth; Right: Flame on the ISS
A flame is a mixture of reacting gases and solids emitting visible, infrared, and sometimes ultraviolet light, the frequency spectrum of which depends on the chemical composition of the burning material and intermediate reaction products. In many cases, such as the burning of organic matter, for example wood, or the incomplete combustion of gas, incandescent solid particles called soot produce the familiar red-orange glow of “fire”. This light has a continuous spectrum. Complete combustion of gas has a dim blue color due to the emission of single-wavelength radiation from various electron transitions in the excited molecules formed in the flame. Usually oxygen is involved, but hydrogen burning in chlorine also produces a flame, producing hydrogen chloride (HCl). Other possible combinations producing flames, amongst many, are fluorine and hydrogen, and hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. Hydrogen and hydrazine/UDMH flames are similarly pale blue, while burning boron and its compounds, evaluated in mid-20th century as a high energy fuel for jet and rocket engines, emits intense green flame, leading to its informal nickname of “Green Dragon”.
The glow of a flame is complex. Black-body radiation is emitted from soot, gas, and fuel particles, though the soot particles are too small to behave like perfect blackbodies. There is also photon emission by de-excited atoms and molecules in the gases. Much of the radiation is emitted in the visible and infrared bands. The color depends on temperature for the black-body radiation, and on chemical makeup for the emission spectra. The dominant color in a flame changes with temperature. The photo of the forest fire in Canada is an excellent example of this variation. Near the ground, where most burning is occurring, the fire is white, the hottest color possible for organic material in general, or yellow. Above the yellow region, the color changes to orange, which is cooler, then red, which is cooler still. Above the red region, combustion no longer occurs, and the uncombusted carbon particles are visible as black smoke.
The common distribution of a flame under normal gravity conditions depends on convection, as soot tends to rise to the top of a general flame, as in a candle in normal gravity conditions, making it yellow. In micro gravity or zero gravity, such as an environment in outer space, convection no longer occurs, and the flame becomes spherical, with a tendency to become more blue and more efficient (although it may go out if not moved steadily, as the CO2 from combustion does not disperse as readily in micro gravity, and tends to smother the flame). There are several possible explanations for this difference, of which the most likely is that the temperature is sufficiently evenly distributed that soot is not formed and complete combustion occurs. Experiments by NASA reveal that diffusion flames in micro gravity allow more soot to be completely oxidized after they are produced than diffusion flames on Earth, because of a series of mechanisms that behave differently in micro gravity when compared to normal gravity conditions. These discoveries have potential applications in applied science and industry, especially concerning fuel efficiency.
Temperatures of flames by appearance
It is true that objects at specific temperatures do radiate visible light. Objects whose surface is at a temperature above approximately 470 °C (878 °F) will glow, emitting light at a color that indicates the temperature of that surface. See the section on red heat for more about this effect. It is a misconception that one can judge the temperature of a fire by the color of its flames or the sparks in the flames. For many reasons, chemically and optically, these colors may not match the red/orange/yellow/white heat temperatures on the chart. Barium nitrate burns a bright green, for instance, and this is not present on the heat chart.
Typical temperatures of flames
Main article: adiabatic flame temperature
The “adiabatic flame temperature” of a given fuel and oxidizer pair indicates the temperature at which the gases achieve stable combustion.
- Oxy–dicyanoacetylene 4,990 °C (9,000 °F)
- Oxy–acetylene 3,480 °C (6,300 °F)
- Oxyhydrogen 2,800 °C (5,100 °F)
- Air–acetylene 2,534 °C (4,600 °F)
- Blowtorch (air–MAPP gas) 2,200 °C (4,000 °F)
- Bunsen burner (air–natural gas) 1,300 to 1,600 °C (2,400 to 2,900 °F)
- Candle (air–paraffin) 1,000 °C (1,800 °F)
- Smoldering cigarette:
- Temperature without drawing: side of the lit portion; 400 °C (750 °F); middle of the lit portion: 585 °C (1,100 °F)
- Temperature during drawing: middle of the lit portion: 700 °C (1,300 °F)
- Always hotter in the middle.
Main article: Fire ecology
Every natural ecosystem has its own fire regime, and the organisms in those ecosystems are adapted to or dependent upon that fire regime. Fire creates a mosaic of different habitat patches, each at a different stage of succession. Different species of plants, animals, and microbes specialize in exploiting a particular stage, and by creating these different types of patches, fire allows a greater number of species to exist within a landscape.
Main article: Fossil record of fire
The fossil record of fire first appears with the establishment of a land-based flora in the Middle Ordovician period, 470 million years ago, permitting the accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere as never before, as the new hordes of land plants pumped it out as a waste product. When this concentration rose above 13%, it permitted the possibility of wildfire. Wildfire is first recorded in the Late Silurian fossil record, 420 million years ago, by fossils of charcoalified plants. Apart from a controversial gap in the Late Devonian, charcoal is present ever since. The level of atmospheric oxygen is closely related to the prevalence of charcoal: clearly oxygen is the key factor in the abundance of wildfire. Fire also became more abundant when grasses radiated and became the dominant component of many ecosystems, around 6 to 7 million years ago; this kindling provided tinder which allowed for the more rapid spread of fire. These widespread fires may have initiated a positive feedback process, whereby they produced a warmer, drier climate more conducive to fire.
Main article: Control of fire by early humans
Bushman starting a fire in Namibia
Process of ignition of a match
The ability to control fire was a dramatic change in the habits of early humans. Making fire to generate heat and light made it possible for people to cook food, simultaneously increasing the variety and availability of nutrients and reducing disease by killing organisms in the food. The heat produced would also help people stay warm in cold weather, enabling them to live in cooler climates. Fire also kept nocturnal predators at bay. Evidence of cooked food is found from 1.9 million years ago, although fire was probably not used in a controlled fashion until 400,000 years ago. There is some evidence that fire may have been used in a controlled fashion about 1 million years ago. Evidence becomes widespread around 50 to 100 thousand years ago, suggesting regular use from this time; interestingly, resistance to air pollution started to evolve in human populations at a similar point in time. The use of fire became progressively more sophisticated, with it being used to create charcoal and to control wildlife from ‘tens of thousands’ of years ago.
Fire has also been used for centuries as a method of torture and execution, as evidenced by death by burning as well as torture devices such as the iron boot, which could be filled with water, oil, or even lead and then heated over an open fire to the agony of the wearer.
By the Neolithic Revolution, during the introduction of grain-based agriculture, people all over the world used fire as a tool in landscape management. These fires were typically controlled burns or “cool fires”, as opposed to uncontrolled “hot fires”, which damage the soil. Hot fires destroy plants and animals, and endanger communities. This is especially a problem in the forests of today where traditional burning is prevented in order to encourage the growth of timber crops. Cool fires are generally conducted in the spring and autumn. They clear undergrowth, burning up biomass that could trigger a hot fire should it get too dense. They provide a greater variety of environments, which encourages game and plant diversity. For humans, they make dense, impassable forests traversable. Another human use for fire in regards to landscape management is its use to clear land for agriculture. Slash-and-burn agriculture is still common across much of tropical Africa, Asia and South America. “For small farmers, it is a convenient way to clear overgrown areas and release nutrients from standing vegetation back into the soil”, said Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, an ecologist at the Earth Institute’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. However this useful strategy is also problematic. Growing population, fragmentation of forests and warming climate are making the earth’s surface more prone to ever-larger escaped fires. These harm ecosystems and human infrastructure, cause health problems, and send up spirals of carbon and soot that may encourage even more warming of the atmosphere – and thus feed back into more fires. Globally today, as much as 5 million square kilometres – an area more than half the size of the United States – burns in a given year.
There are numerous modern applications of fire. In its broadest sense, fire is used by nearly every human being on earth in a controlled setting every day. Users of internal combustion vehicles employ fire every time they drive. Thermal power stations provide electricity for a large percentage of humanity.
The use of fire in warfare has a long history. Fire was the basis of all early thermal weapons. Homer detailed the use of fire by Greek soldiers who hid in a wooden horse to burn Troy during the Trojan war. Later the Byzantine fleet used Greek fire to attack ships and men. In the First World War, the first modern flamethrowers were used by infantry, and were successfully mounted on armoured vehicles in the Second World War. In the latter war, incendiary bombs were used by Axis and Allies alike, notably on Tokyo, Rotterdam, London, Hamburg and, notoriously, at Dresden; in the latter two cases firestorms were deliberately caused in which a ring of fire surrounding each city was drawn inward by an updraft caused by a central cluster of fires. The United States Army Air Force also extensively used incendiaries against Japanese targets in the latter months of the war, devastating entire cities constructed primarily of wood and paper houses. The use of napalm was employed in July 1944, towards the end of the Second World War; although its use did not gain public attention until the Vietnam War. Molotov cocktails were also used.
Use as fuel
A coal-fired power station in the People’s Republic of ChinaDisability-adjusted life year for fires per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004 no data less than 50 50–100 100–150 150–200 200–250 250–300 300–350 350–400 400–450 450–500 500–600 more than 600
Setting fuel aflame releases usable energy. Wood was a prehistoric fuel, and is still viable today. The use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, in power plants supplies the vast majority of the world’s electricity today; the International Energy Agency states that nearly 80% of the world’s power came from these sources in 2002. The fire in a power station is used to heat water, creating steam that drives turbines. The turbines then spin an electric generator to produce electricity. Fire is also used to provide mechanical work directly, in both external and internal combustion engines.
The unburnable solid remains of a combustible material left after a fire is called clinker if its melting point is below the flame temperature, so that it fuses and then solidifies as it cools, and ash if its melting point is above the flame temperature.
Protection and prevention
Wildfire prevention programs around the world may employ techniques such as wildland fire use and prescribed or controlled burns. Wildland fire use refers to any fire of natural causes that is monitored but allowed to burn. Controlled burns are fires ignited by government agencies under less dangerous weather conditions.
Fire fighting services are provided in most developed areas to extinguish or contain uncontrolled fires. Trained firefighters use fire apparatus, water supply resources such as water mains and fire hydrants or they might use A and B class foam depending on what is feeding the fire.
Fire prevention is intended to reduce sources of ignition. Fire prevention also includes education to teach people how to avoid causing fires. Buildings, especially schools and tall buildings, often conduct fire drills to inform and prepare citizens on how to react to a building fire. Purposely starting destructive fires constitutes arson and is a crime in most jurisdictions.
Model building codes require passive fire protection and active fire protection systems to minimize damage resulting from a fire. The most common form of active fire protection is fire sprinklers. To maximize passive fire protection of buildings, building materials and furnishings in most developed countries are tested for fire-resistance, combustibility and flammability. Upholstery, carpeting and plastics used in vehicles and vessels are also tested.
Where fire prevention and fire protection have failed to prevent damage, fire insurance can mitigate the financial impact.Play mediaThis visualization shows fires detected in the United States from July 2002 through July 2011. Look for fires that reliably burn each year in western states and across the Southeast.
Different restoration methods and measures are used depending on the type of fire damage that occurred. Restoration after fire damage can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional fire damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore fire damaged property due to their training and extensive experience. Most are usually listed under “Fire and Water Restoration” and they can help speed repairs, whether for individual homeowners or for the largest of institutions.
Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state’s Department of Consumer Affairs – usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board. Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for “water and fire damage restoration.” Hence, the Contractor’s State License Board requires both an asbestos certification (ASB) as well as a demolition classification (C-21) in order to perform Fire and Water Restoration work.
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