User Contributed Dictionary
Noun
 The branch of physics that studies the flow and transformation of energy
 The flow and transformation of energy within a specific system or device
Extensive Definition
Energetics is the scientific study of energy
flows and storages under transformation. Because energy flows at
all scales, from the quantum level, to the biosphere and cosmos,
energetics is therefore a very broad discipline, encompassing for
example thermodynamics, chemistry, biological
energetics, biochemistry and ecological
energetics. Where each branch of energetics begins and ends is
a topic of constant debate. For example, Lehninger (1973, p.21)
contended that when the science of thermodynamics deals with energy
exchanges of all types, it can be called energetics.
Aims
In general, energetics is concerned with seeking principles that accurately describe the useful and nonuseful tendencies of energy flows and storages under transformation. 'Principles' are understood here as phenomena which behave like historical invariants under multiple observations. When some critical number of people have observed such invariance, such a principle is usually then given the status of a 'fundamental law' of science. Like in all science, whether or not a theorem or principle is considered a fundamental law appears to depend on how many people agree to such a proposition. The ultimate aim of energetics therefore is the description of fundamental laws. Philosophers of science have held that the fundamental laws of thermodynamics can be treated as the laws of energetics, (Reiser 1926, p.432). Through the clarification of these laws energetics aims to produce reliable predictions about energy flow and storage transformations at any scale; nano to macro.History
Energetics has a controversial history. Some authors maintain that the origins of energetics can be found in the work of the ancient Greeks, but that the mathematical formalisation began with the work of Leibniz. Liet.Col. Richard de Villamil (1928) said that Rankine formulated the Science of Energetics in his paper Outlines of the Science of Energetics published in the Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow in 1855. W. Ostwald and E. Mach subsequently developed the study and in the late 1800s energetics was understood to be incompatible with the atomic view of the atom forwarded by Boltzmann's gas theory. Proof of the atom settled the dispute but not without significant damage. In the 1920s Lotka then attempted to build on Boltzmann's views through a mathematical synthesis of energetics with biological evolutionary theory. Lotka proposed that the selective principle of evolution was one which favoured the maximum useful energy flow transformation. This view subsequently influenced the further development of ecological energetics, especially the work of Howard T. Odum.De Villamil attempted to clarify the scope of
energetics with respects to other branches of physics by contriving
a system that divides mechanics into two branches;
energetics (the science of energy) and "pure", "abstract" or
"rigid" dynamics
(the science of momentum). According to
Villamil energetics can be mathematically characterised by scalar
equations, and rigid dynamics by vectorial equations. In this
division the dimensions for dynamics are space, time and mass, and
for energetics, length, time and mass (Villamil 1928, p.9). This
division is made according to fundamental pressuppositions about
the properties of bodies which can be expressed according to how
one answers to following two questions:
1. Are particles rigidly fixed to together?
2. Is there any machinery for stopping moving
bodies?
In Villamil's classification system, dynamics
says yes to 1 and no to 2, whereas energetics says no to 1 and yes
to 2. Therefore, Villamil's in system, dynamics assumes that
particles are rigidly fixed together and cannot vibrate, and
consequently must all be at zero temperature. The conservation
of momentum is a consequence of this view, however it is
considered valid only in logic and not to be a true representation
of the facts (Villamil, p. 96). In contrast energetics does not
assume that particles are rigidly fixed together, particles are
therefore free to vibrate, and consequently can be at nonzero
temperatures.
Principles of energetics
As a general statement of energy flows under transformation, the principles of energetics include the first four laws of thermodynamics which seek a rigorous description. However the precise place of the laws of thermodynamics within the principles of energetics is a topic currently under debate. If the ecologist Howard T. Odum was right, then the principles of energetics take into consideration a hierarchical ordering of energy forms, which aims to account for the concept of energy quality, and the evolution of the universe. Albert Lehninger (1973, p. 2) called these hierarchical orderings theOdum proposed 3 further energetic principles and
one corollary that take
energy hierarchy into account. The first four principles of
energetics are related to the same numbered laws of thermodynamics, and are
expanded upon in that article. The final four principles are taken
from the ecological
energetics of H.T. Odum.
 Zeroth principle of energetics
 If two thermodynamic systems A and B are in thermal equilibrium, and B and C are also in thermal equilibrium, then A and C are in thermal equilibrium.
 First principle of energetics
 The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added to the system by heating, minus the amount lost in the form of work done by the system on its surroundings.
 Second principle of energetics
 The total entropy of any isolated thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value.
 Third principle of energetics
 As a system approaches absolute zero of temperature all processes cease and the entropy of the system approaches a minimum value or zero for the case of a perfect crystalline substance.
 Fourth principle of energetics
 There seem to be two opinions on the fourth principle of energetics:

 The Onsager reciprocal relations are sometimes called the fourth law of thermodynamics. As the fourth law of thermodynamics Onsager reciprocal relations would constitute the fourth principle of energetics.
 In the field of ecological energetics H.T. Odum considered maximum power, the fourth principle of energetics. Odum also proposed the Maximum empower principle as a corollary of the maximum power principle, and considered it to describe the propensities of evolutionary selforganization.
 Fifth principle of energetics
 The energy quality factor increases hierarchically. From studies of ecological food chains, Odum proposed that energy transformations form a hierarchical series measured by Transformity increase (Odum 2000, p. 246). Flows of energy develop hierarchical webs in which inflowing energies interact and are transformed by work processes into energy forms of higher quality that feedback amplifier actions, helping to maximise the power of the system" — (Odum 1994, p. 251)
 Sixth principle of energetics
 Material cycles have hierarchical patterns measured by the emergy/mass ratio that determines its zone and pulse frequency in the energy hierarchy. (Odum 2000, p. 246). M.T. Brown and V. Buranakarn write, "Generally, emergy per mass is a good indicator of recycleability, where materials with high emergy per mass are more recyclable" (2003, p. 1).
References
 S.W.Angrist and L.G.Helper (1973) Order and Chaos: Laws of Energy and Entropy, Penguin, Australia, p. 34
 G. Helm (1898) Die Energetic, Leipzig, Verlag.
 H.Hertz (1956) Principles of Mechanics, Dover, U.S.A.
 A.Lehninger (1973) Bioenergetics W.A.Benjamin, Inc..
 H.T. Odum and R.T.Pinkerton (1955) 'Time's Speed Regulator', American Scientist, Vol. 43, No. 2, p. 331.
 H.T. Odum (1994) Ecological and General Systems: An Introduction to Systems Ecology, Colorado University Press.
 H.T. Odum (2000) 'An Energy Hierarchy Law For Biogeochemical Cycles', in Brown, M.T. (Ed.), Emergy Synthesis: Theory and Applications of the Emergy Methodology. Proceedings of the First Biennial Emergy Analysis Research Conference, Centre for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
 J. R. Partington (1989) A Short History of Chemistry, Dover, New York
 Oliver L. Reiser, 1926, Probability, Natural Law, and Emergence: I. Probability and Purpose, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 16, pp. 421435
 M.Tribus (1961) Thermostatics and Thermodynamics, Van Nostrand, University Series in Basic Engineering, pp. 619622.
 De Villamil, R. (1928) Rational mechanics.
External links
 Energetics  Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 ed.
 A history of energetics
 Journal of Energetic Materials
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