HomeDiscussion ForumIs it possible to have negative thermal energy?

Is it possible to have negative thermal energy?



  1. Negative energy of any sort just means energy of a lesser amount than the datum configuration where you define energy to equal zero for convenience.
    If the 100 kg diver goes 20 meters below the ocean surface and you defined GPE to equal zero at the ocean surface, the diver now has about -2000 Joules of GPE.
    If you define internal thermal energy for a particular substance to have a datum at -40 Celsius and saturated liquid, and if you subcool it to -50 Celsius and the same pressure, it has negative thermal energy.

  2. Someone once said it is all relative. That is the question. Relative to what reference do you use. All energy can be negative if you move the reference to the right place. Now if you choose absolute zero as the reference then there can be no negative energy since you can’t go below that reference point.


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