A Pedagogical Simulation of Maxwell's Demon Paradox


Maxwell's demon was conceived by James Clerk Maxwell in 1871 to illustrate the statistical basis of thermodynamics (1), and the concept has since formed an arena for investigation and clarification of many concepts in thermodynamics (2). Chemistry students often have difficulty developing an intuitive knowledge of some concepts in thermodynamics. A Pedagogical Simulation of Maxwell's Demon aims to help make these concepts more understandable for students. Teaching thermodynamics from the microscopic point of view can help students develop an intuitive understanding of its concepts. This program simulates, at the microscopic level, two gas chambers with an opening between them. The program allows students or their instructors to set up simulations that illustrate the thermodynamics and statistical behavior of the system. The user determines the basis for whether the demon permits or denies passage of particles through the opening using information from the microscopic level, such as specific particle velocity. Students can track and analyze how this affects particle distribution, thermal equilibrium, relaxation time, diffusion, and distribution of particle velocities.
Contents
A Pedagogical Simulation of Maxwell's Demon Paradox   
(Software, Instructional Material (1))
Keywords
Pedagogies
Topics