Epicatalysis in a Simple Mechanical-Gravitational System: A Second-Law Paradox?
Author(s): Jack DenurJack Denur
Catalysis is usually construed to facilitate equilibrium being attained more easily and quickly, or occasionally less so (anticatalysis), but not to alter the position of equilibrium, i.e., not to alter the equilibrium constant Keq. Indeed, it is sometimes stated that if catalysis could alter Keq, then it could be employed to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Nevertheless, cases wherein catalysis does alter Keq are known. This has been dubbed epicatalysis. A violation of the Second Law via epicatalysis is precluded if it costs at least as much work to restore the catalyst (specifically, the epicatalyst) to its initial state as can be yielded by the alteration of Keq that it can achieve. In most cases of epicatalysis, it does cost at least as much work usually more work to restore the catalyst (specifically, the epicatalyst) to its in.. Read More»