# Dumping Entropy: Exploring Why Systems Expel Excess Entropy

• Bashyboy
In summary: GIn summary, the concept of "dumping" entropy refers to the flow of entropy from a system to its surroundings, typically in the form of heat. This is necessary in order to maintain the increase of entropy in the surroundings due to temperature differences. The idea of "dumping" entropy can be confusing because it implies that the entropy is a physical substance, when in reality it is simply a mathematical quantity associated with a thermodynamic state.
Bashyboy
"Dumping" Entropy

Hello everyone,

I am reading Daniel Schroeder's Thermal Physics book. One phrase he uses that I find particular confusing is that a system has to "dump" entropy. As one example, in chapter 5 he briefly discusses how a fuel cell functions, stating, "In the process of producing this electrical work, the
fuel cell will also expel 49 kJ of waste heat, in order to get rid of the excess entropy
that was in the gases."

Why does something have to get rid of excess entropy, could someone help me in understanding why this is so?

Bashyboy said:
Hello everyone,

I am reading Daniel Schroeder's Thermal Physics book. One phrase he uses that I find particular confusing is that a system has to "dump" entropy. As one example, in chapter 5 he briefly discusses how a fuel cell functions, stating, "In the process of producing this electrical work, the
fuel cell will also expel 49 kJ of waste heat, in order to get rid of the excess entropy
that was in the gases."

Why does something have to get rid of excess entropy, could someone help me in understanding why this is so?

Since entropy is not conserved it is difficult to conceptualize it as something physical. It is just a mathematical quantity associated with a thermodynamic state.

Re: "dumping entropy". This suggests that the entropy flows from the fuel cell to its surroundings. It doesn't. Energy flows from the fuel cell in the form of heat. Total entropy increases when heat flows due to a temperature difference. The entropy increase of the cold reservoir (surroundings) is not "dumped" by the fuel cell. It never was in the fuel cell. It only came into existence when the heat flow occurred from the fuel cell to the surroundings.

AM

## 1. What is entropy?

Entropy is a measure of the disorder or randomness in a system. In other words, it is a measure of how much energy is unavailable to do work.

## 2. Why do systems expel excess entropy?

Systems expel excess entropy in order to maintain a state of equilibrium and minimize the overall entropy of the system. This is a natural process that helps to maintain order and organization within a system.

## 3. How is excess entropy expelled from a system?

Excess entropy can be expelled from a system through various processes, such as diffusion, convection, and radiation. These processes involve the transfer of energy from areas of high entropy to areas of low entropy, resulting in a decrease in the overall entropy of the system.

## 4. What are the consequences of not expelling excess entropy?

If a system does not expel excess entropy, it will continue to increase in disorder and eventually reach a state of maximum entropy. This can lead to the breakdown or malfunction of the system, as the available energy is unable to do useful work.

## 5. How does the study of dumping entropy contribute to our understanding of complex systems?

Studying the process of dumping entropy allows us to better understand how complex systems maintain order and organization. It also helps us to understand how energy is transferred and utilized within a system, which can have implications for various fields such as physics, biology, and engineering.

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