- Conference date: 14–15 June 2011
- Location: San Diego, (USA)
Some foundational considerations on the peculiar status of the second law as a law of physics are made. Given the atomic nature of matter, whose behaviour is well described by statistical physics, the second law could not hold unconditionally, but only statistically. It is not an absolute law. We argue that this peculiar condition is the main rationale and motivation for pursuing exploratory research to challenge the second law.
Recently [D'Abramo, Phys. Lett. A 374 (2010) 1801, and D'Abramo, Physica A 390/3 (2011) 482] the concept of vacuum capacitor spontaneously charged harnessing the heat from a single thermal reservoir at room temperature has been introduced, along with a mathematical description of its functioning and a discussion on the main paradoxical feature that seems to violate the second law of thermodynamics.
Here we briefly review these works. We describe the theoretical and practical possibility of exploiting such a thermo‐charged capacitor as voltage/current generator: if very weak provisos on the physical characteristics of the capacitor are fulfilled, then a non‐zero current should flow across the device, allowing the generation of potentially usable voltage, current and electric power out of a single thermal source at room temperature. Preliminary results show that the power output is tiny but non‐zero.
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