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Thermodynamics overrated? - Ken Rauen Challenges Second Law

The second law of thermodynamics has long been cited as evidence for the impossibility of over-unity power generation. My own view is summed up in this earlier article, which describes the problem in simple words and argues that there is no such thing as a completely closed system - one that is shut off from all the energies that make up the universe. Thus the second law, as stated, is valid only for the very limited cases - such as steam engines - where we can account for all energies in and out. Since the universe itself is largely composed of energy and motion, there are many cases where these ambient energies can be harnessed to do work for us. The problem is that we are "not allowed" to look, and certainly we are not allowed to patent any discovery that "violates" the laws of thermodynamics.


Steam engine model - Image source: steaMECH

Ken Rauen some time ago published an interesting article in Infinite Energy magazine, which discusses the history of the Second Law and some known exceptions and comes to the final conclusion that "what has been known about the behavior of heat and entropy, as embodied in the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is incomplete."

Here is the complete article: The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychology of Science

It's best to save this on your computer and open with Adobe PDF reader)

Ken is not an ivory tower philosopher - he balances theory with practice. PESwiki has an article about Ken Rauen and his development of an environmental heat engine.

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Viktor Schauberger would have agreed with Ken's view about the Second Law. He said that there is much energy to be had just for the asking. Schauberger charged that our current technologies are using the wrong kind of motion (explosion instead of the vortex-based implosion) and that we could have all the energy we wanted if only we knew that there is an anti-entropic kind of motion that tends to concentrate, instead of dispersing, energy.

See Schauberger Q and A - Making the Data Available

and Technology Turned Inside-out: Implosion Instead of Explosion

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you say: "The Second Law may be matematically reduced to DeltaS_net >= 0, where S is the entropy." I don't think the second law (in its original version) can be reduced to anything like that. Later I may find time to explain my claim.

Best regards,
Pentcho Valev

Clausius deduced his famous "Entropy always increases" from two premises:

1. Any irreversible process can be closed to become a cycle by using a reversible process.

2. Closed integral of dQ/T is negative or zero for any cycle.

The falsehood of the first premise is almost obvious. I am not able to prove rigorously the falsehood of the second, but its truth is not proved either (Clausius' proof is invalid). The problem is mentioned here:

www.chem.umd.edu/~devoe/thermo/3steps.pdf (link no longer active - Sepp)

Unfortunately, as you can see, the problem is too technical to be discussed via email. A normal discussion however can become very interesting.

Pentcho Valev

Ken Rauen writes (by email):

I will examine the referenced paper from the University of Maryland's website later.

What I see right now is as follows. The Second Law, as it is generally known, is reduceable to delta S net >= 0; this is quotable from ANY engineering or physics book. If Pentcho disagrees with it, he does not have an issue with me, as I am not the source of that definition. To me, that version of the Second Law is legitimate IF boundary conditions are established; universality is unacceptable, as it is unprovable.

As for Klausius' two premises, they are not established as facts, leaving the conclusion open to error. The first one must have a proof preceding its use as a premise Klausius' argument; I have never seen one. The second premise is unclear as to what is being defined by dQ/dT through a cycle; working fluids have dQ/dT = 0 around a cycle because S is a state variable and must return to its starting value by the definitions of a cycle and a state variable. When the entire interaction of everything essential to the operation of that cycle is included in the summation of dQ/dT, analyses show it is greater than 0, but the NECESSITY of this result is ONLY established by the random collisions of heat according to the Kinetic Theory of Heat and Statistical Mechanics. When the KTH and SM randomness conditions do not apply, the 2LT does not apply; this is simply the rules of logic.

Michael comments (by email):

Rauen is, of course, correct - the basis of TD as it has been has now been demonstrably incomplete and as Max Planck put it so well, it won't die or evolve until the status quo "guards at the gate" die off. At that point, people will eventually start acting as though it was always known that the new TD which is coming was obvious.

The old dream dies, the new begins, and some day it as well will most likely need evolutionary revision as we continue to discover more, and the same battle will take place when that form tries to gain acceptance.

Unfortunately, the defenders of the old are never the same people as those who made the discoveries, but merely tenacious hangers on, not allowing anyone to look at anything challenging their precious dream. 

As Michael Talbot wrote in "The Holographic Universe," people can be as addicted to their sensibilities as addicts to their drugs, and if we were to explore the brain chemistry of the phenomenon, we could well discover that that addiction has a definable physical basis as well (i.e.endorphins).

Phil Lawson writes (by email):

Ref: Ken Rauen Challenges Second Law

Ken makes a lot of sense. I think all natural laws are subject to re interpretation. Like any legal system they are subject to the change in human ability to think (??)

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my reply:

Yes, our main problem seems to be that we are not willing to re-examine basics once they have been "accepted" or rather cemented into immovable laws.

Physical laws are like a matrix based on certain premises. If facts come up that cannot be explained by the laws, rather than suppress those who point up the facts we should look around for a better explanation, a different theory.

Sepp wrote:

"Physical laws are like a matrix based on certain premises. If facts come up that cannot be explained by the laws, rather than suppress those who point up the facts we should look around for a better explanation, a different theory."

That is a serious philosophical problem that would be difficult to discuss via email. But I can present a conclusion of mine (without any proof): The idea that theories are verified only through experimental refutation or confirmation of the FINAL results is misleading and extremely harmful. In my view, the process should also involve LOGICAL verification of the validity of the arguments and, if possible, direct experimental verification of the initial postulates.

By the way, a discussion on the second law can be seen in


Pentcho Valev

Robert Kerr comments (by email):

The mechanics that refutes a unidirectional (entropic) process is the negatively entropic process of mass organization.  Mass accumulation results from the interference of random particle accumulations with surrounding random particle chaotic motion. This interference produces a radially inward pressure field increasing concentration of mass. The action is regenerative. As concentration increases internal pressure increases producing the entropic radiation of smaller particles. The smallest particles are photons which are emitted as mass surface area increases. Photon pressure is temperature. Since temperature is detected throughout the entire universe, photons are present and are the universal source of energy. Photon fluid presssure is the fundamental source of energy. Its pressure accounts for the sphericity of all significant mass accumulations confining mass to minimum volume.

Michael makes the following point (by email):

I think the message is clear: (see video Water Car Inventor Killed...)

At the banquet celebrating the final private funding he spent years seeking, Meyer stood up, shouted that he'd been poisoned, and dropped dead.

My question to Michael:

I know about Meyer's untimely death. Yes, it's one case where we can suspect with good reason that a good invention was suppressed by force. But what is the immediate connection with the validity or lack of it of the second law of thermodynamics?

To which he replies:

It's directly related to status quo non-acceptance of new concepts that any challenge of present TD faces, and the entropy upon which TD as it stands depends. Obviously if Meyer's inventions were outputting more than their input, as the video describes, this is a direct challenge to TD as now accepted, in which all conditions must be entropic. If the gases produced by Meyer's water fracturing produce even a tiny amount more energy when ignited than it took to fracture the water, classical TD is broken, and according to the film it's far more than a tiny amount - multiples of that amount.

Kind Regards,


philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000313/00/engtot.pdf (link no longer active - Sepp)

"The Second Law [of thermodynamics] made its appearance in physics around 1850, but a half century later it was already surrounded by so much confusion that the British Association for the Advancement of Science decided to appoint a special committee with the task of providing clarity about the meaning of this law. However, its final report (Bryan 1891) did not settle the issue. Half a century later, the physicist/philosopher Bridgman still complained that there are almost as many formulations of the second law as there have been discussions of it (Bridgman 1941, p. 116). And even today, the Second Law remains so obscure that it continues to attract new efforts at clarification. A recent example is the work of Lieb and Yngvason (1999)."

Professors who fiecely teach obscurities of this kind and counteract any reform that would rationalize science education are criminals by definition. There is no official court but still some verdict has been delivered:

"Prof Smith has said chemistry was not attracting enough students to make it viable. Sussex follows Exeter, King's College London, Queen Mary University of London and Dundee, which have also cut back on chemistry."

"But there has been a marked global decrease of students willing to study physics, and funding has decreased accordingly. Not only that, the best students are not heading for studies in physics, finding other fields more appealing, and science teachers to schools are getting scarcer in supply. In fact, warning voices are being heard about the spread of a "scientific illiteracy" where many living in technologically advanced societies lack the knowledge and the ability for critical thinking in order to function in their daily environment."

"We are nearing the end of the "World Year of Physics", otherwise known as Einstein Year, as it is the centenary of his annus mirabilis in which he made three incredible breakthroughs, including special relativity. In fact, it was 100 years ago yesterday that he published the most famous equation in the history of physics: E=mc2. But instead of celebrating, physicists are in mourning after a report showed a dramatic decline in the number of pupils studying physics at school. The number taking A-level physics has dropped by 38% over the past 15 years, a catastrophic meltdown that is set to continue over the next few years. The report warns that a shortage of physics teachers and a lack of interest from pupils could mean the end of physics in state schools. Thereafter, physics would be restricted to only those students who could afford to go to posh schools. Britain was the home of Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Paul Dirac, and Brits made world-class contributions to understanding gravity, quantum physics and electromagnetism - and yet the British physicist is now facing extinction. But so what? Physicists are not as cuddly as pandas, so who cares if we disappear?"

"Physics is in danger of disappearing as an identifiable subject from much of state education, through redefinition to general science and teacher shortage."

dogma.free.fr/txt/EK-ScienceQuiestion.htm (link no longer active - Sepp)
"Par ailleurs, on remarque qu’aujourd’hui, les thèses « relativistes », par exemple celle de Paul Féyerabend[2], ont un impact très fort, notamment dans les milieux étudiants. Même si leur diffusion s’accompagne de contresens et de malentendus, elles servent de socle à des critiques de plus en plus vives adressées aux professionnels de la recherche : Votre science dit-elle réellement le vrai ? Comment osez-vous prétendre qu’elle se réfère à la rationalité alors que les jugements esthétiques, les préjugés métaphysiques et autres désirs subjectifs imprégnent sinon sa démarche tout entière, du moins certaines de ses phases ? Votre légitimité incontestée est-elle fondée sur autre chose que des effets de pouvoir ?"

"There is a popular argument that the world's oldest profession is sexual prostitution. I think that it is far more likely that the oldest profession is scientific prostitution, and that it is still alive and well, and thriving in the 20th century. I suspect that long before sex had any commercial value, the prehistoric shamans used their primitive knowledge to acquire status, wealth, and political power, in much the same way as the dominant scientific and religious politicians of our time do. So in a sense, I tend to agree with Weart's argument that the earliest scientists were the prehistoric shamans, and the argument of Feyerabend that puts science on a par with religion and prostitution. I also tend to agree with the argument of Ellis that states that both science and theology have much in common, and both attempt to model reality on arguments based on unprovable articles of faith. Using the logic that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it must be a duck: I support the argument that since there is no significant difference between science and religion, science should be considered a religion! I would also agree with Ellis' argument of the obvious methodological differences between science and the other religions. The other dominant religions are static because their arguments are based on rigid doctrines set forth by their founders, such as Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, who have died long ago. Science on the other hand, is a dynamic religion that was developed by many men over a long period of time, and it has a flexible doctrine, the scientific method, that demands that the arguments change to conform to the evolving observational and experimental evidence. The word science was derived from the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge, so we see that the word, in essence, is just another word for knowledge. An associate of mine, Prof. Richard Rhodes II, a Professor of Physics at Eckerd College, once told me that students in his graduate school used to joke that Ph.D. stood for Piled higher and Deeper. If one considers the vast array of abstract theoretical garbage that dominates modern physics and astronomy, this appears to be an accurate description of the degree. Considering the results from Mahoney's field trial that showed Protestant ministers were two to three times more likely to use scientific methodology than Ph.D. scientists, it seems reasonable to consider that they have two to three times more right to be called scientists then the so-called Ph.D. scientists. I would agree with Popper's argument that observations are theory-laden, and there is no way to prove an argument beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt, but at the very least, the scientist should do more than pay lip service to the scientific method. The true scientist must have faith and believe in the scientific method of testing theories, and not in the theories themselves. I agree with Seeds argument that "A pseudoscience is something that pretends to be a science but does not obey the rules of good conduct common to all sciences." Because many of the dominant theories of our time do not follow the rules of science, they should more properly be labeled pseudoscience. The people who tend to believe more in theories than in the scientific method of testing theories, and who ignore the evidence against the theories they believe in, should be considered pseudoscientists and not true scientists. To the extent that the professed beliefs are based on the desire for status, wealth, or political reasons, these people are scientific prostitutes."

Pentcho Valev


There is an important analogy between the couples Carnot/Clausius and Poincare/Einstein. In both cases initially a genius has the misfortune of deriving conclusions from a false premise: "Heat is an indestructible substance that cannot be converted into work" in the first case and "As far as the speed of light is concerned, light should be regarded as waves transmitted by the ether, not as particles shot in the void" in the second case. The conclusions are breathtaking, even miraculous. However in the end the genius discovers (or sees the absurd consequences of) the falsehood and falls into frustration. There is also a profiteer who is not frustrated and converts the breathtaking conclusions into a victory. Becoming a victorious profiteer, he eventually manages to camouflage the original falsehood.

Jean-Pierre Maury, "Carnot et la machine a vapeur", PUF, 1986, p. 111:

"Mais de toute evidence, la principale raison de son [de Carnot] silence est le desarroi ou le plonge l'idee que toute la base des Reflexions est fausse. Ecoutons-le:
"...La chaleur est donc le resultat d'un mouvement. Alors il est tout simple qu'elle puisse se produire par la consommation de Puissance Motrice et qu'elle puisse produire cette puissance. Tous les autres phenomenes (...) pourraient s'expliquer dans cette hypothese. Mais il serait difficile de dire pourquoi, dans le developpement de la PM par la chaleur un corps froid est necessaire, pourquoi en consommant la chaleur d'un corps echauffe on ne peut pas produire du mouvement."

That is the frustration of the genius who has in fact discovered the first law of thermodynamics. However profiteers will not need this law for some time and will kill even its official discoverer, Robert Mayer. In 1848 Kelvin, accomplice of Clausius, will write in the absence of any frustration, as if Mayer's paper had not been published six years earlier:

"In the present state of science no operation is known by which heat can be absorbed, without either elevating the temperature of matter, or becoming latent and producing some alteration in the physical condition of the body into which it is absorbed; and the conversion of heat (or caloric) into mechanical effect is probably impossible, certainly undiscovered. In actual engines for obtaining mechanical effect through the agency of heat, we must consequently look for the source of power, not in any absorption and conversion, but merely in the transition of heat."

Poincare does not discuss reciprocal time dilation (I measure your clock to be slower than mine and you measure mine to be slower than yours), although it follows from the equations he uses: too absurd for him to bear. In 1905 yet another profiteer (Einstein) will introduce, in the absence of any frustration, both reciprocal time dilation (first absurdity) and non-reciprocal time contraction: a clock at rest runs faster than a clock moving with constant speed in a closed line (superimposed second absurdity).

The principle of superimposed absurdities proved fatal for rationality in science.

Pentcho Valev


Einstein achieved perfection in the application of the principle of maximum absurdity but the original discoverer was Clausius. See p. 39 in

philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000313/00/engtot.pdf (link no longer active - Sepp)
"A more important objection it seems to me, is that Clausius based his conclusion that the entropy increases in a nicht umkehrbar [irreversible] process on the assumption that such a process can be closed by an umkehrbar [reversible] process to become a cycle.....But the assumption is far from obvious...."

In Einstein's zombie world the criticism "far from obvious" suggests that an idiocy may be discussed. If Clausius' assumption was "The length of the crocodile exceeds its greenness", that would be "far from obvious" again.

Pentcho Valev


Clausius' idiocies are no longer fashionable in physics:

philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000313/ (link no longer active - Sepp)
"In the eyes of many modern physicists, the theory has acquired a somewhat dubious status. They regard classical thermodynamics as a relic from a bygone era... Indeed, the view that thermodynamics is obsolete is so common that many physicists use the phrase 'Second Law of Thermodynamics' to denote some counterpart of this law in the kinetic theory of gases or in statistical mechanics."

Banished from physics, thermodynamics zombies have become professors of physical chemistry. Their task is to change irreversibly the rationality of chemistry students by making them learn by rote and repeat phrases like: the entropy always increases, it never decreases, if it decreases this means that the chemical reaction is impossible, chemical reactions occur because the Gibbs energy decreases, if it increases they would not occur etc.

Relativity zombies may become professors of physical chemistry as well. Such professors could teach: chemical reactions in the traveller's body are slow by a factor of 1/gamma although scientists have discovered that things are not so simple http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/22mar_telomeres.htm , chemical reactions are slow by a factor of 1/gamma in the body of the twin at rest as well and yet if the traveller returns the twin at rest is older but things are not so simple http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/22mar_telomeres.htm etc.

I suggest the following curriculum for all universities in Europe and elsewhere: 1st year: chemical thermodynamics; 2nd year: chemical relativity. A 3rd year would not be necessary.

Pentcho Valev


Roughly speaking, modern science is based on two premises:

1. The speed of light is constant, independent of the relative speed of the light source and the observer.

2. The entropy is a state function.

The importance of the first premise is correctly expressed by late Bryan Wallace:

"Shatter this postulate [of constancy of the speed of light], and modern physics becomes an elaborate farce!"

The importance of the second premise is even greater - just try to imagine modern science where all statements involving the concept of entropy are absurd. Yet the premise "Entropy is a state function" has no serious justification. The proof offered by Clausius is based on the assumption "A general cycle can be divided into small Carnot cycles" which is almost obviously wrong. Thermodynamicists know that and have adopted a specific tactic: they have repeated "Entropy is a state function", "Entropy is a state function" etc. for more than a century and the truth has become self-evident.

Pentcho Valev


The era of Postscientism started in 1850 when Clausius scored a decisive victory over human rationality: he made the world believe that the prototype of the second law of thermodynamics - all heat engines working between the same two temperatures have the same maximal efficiency - was a corollary of the triviality "heat flows spontaneously from hot to cold". Fifteen years later Clausius struck again: this time he convinced the world that something called entropy was a state function which always increased. The jubilation was enormous and eternal - the longevity of the concept of entropy will certainly surpass that of Aristotelian concept of entelechy.

Still in about 2500 years a historian of science will bump into the following ancient text:

philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000313/00/engtot.pdf (link no longer active - Sepp)
"A more important objection it seems to me, is that Clausius based his conclusion that the entropy increases in a nicht umkehrbar [irreversible] process on the assumption that such a process can be closed by an umkehrbar [reversible] process to become a cycle.....But the assumption is far from obvious...."

Then the concept of entropy will be rejected and replaced with some better concept. (Never abandon a theory if you cannot replace it with a better one.)

Pentcho Valev


Assume in

Rudolf Clausius, Ueber die bewegende Kraft der Wärme, Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 79, 368-97, 500-24 (1850):
"The ONLY change will occur in the distribution of the heat, since more heat will be transferred from B to A than from A to B, and so on the whole heat will be transferred from B to A. By repeating these two processes alternately it would be possible, WITHOUT ANY EXPENDITURE OF FORCE OR ANY OTHER CHANGE, to transfer as much heat as we please from a cold to a hot body, and this is not in accord with the other relations of heat, since it always shows a tendency to equalize temperature differences and therefore to pass from hotter to colder bodies."

the WORDS IN CAPITALS are wrong: the reversible cycle described by Clausius is unimaginable in the absence of irreversible changes in the surroundings. What will remain of the thermodynamic theory if Clausius has really used a false premise in his desperate attempt to save Carnot's conclusion? Suggestion: NOTHING.

Pentcho Valev

Thank you for sharing this info
it was very helpful

I published my idea in the form of a book ' A treatise on perpetual motion of second kind.' You can download the book from http://archive.org/details/ATreatiseOnPerpetualmotionofSecondKind

This book is about the inconsistency of carnot principle and second law of thermodynamics.

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