# Entropy and Endothermic Processes

1. Nov 24, 2013

### epsaliba

I am a general chemistry student and I find thermodynamics fascinating. However, I have a hard time visualizing entropy. Can somebody please explain how an increase in entropy can make a process that is endothermic spontaneous? The typical demonstration of entropy that I have seen is on in which marbles are placed in beakers and the number of ways that they can be arranged. However, this only demonstrates an increase in entropy for a process in which ΔU=0. I was wondering if there is a good way to demonstrate how an increase in entropy can make something go against what its internal energy is telling it to do. I am familiar with most entropy equations, but I am looking for a description of what is actually going on. For example, the internal energy is equal to the sum of all of the kinetic energies of the particles in a system. If I had say three particles, how could I describe the entropy of those three particles? And how could I cause them to increase there internal energy simply by increasing the entropy? I seems to me that my lack of knowledge of the location and velocity of the particles doesnt have anything to do with whether they have the energy to do something or not. Thanks

2. Nov 24, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

Evaporation.

Imagine large, empty, thermally isolated tank. Add some water, wait. Tank gets colder, water evaporates.

3. Nov 24, 2013

### epsaliba

Why though? I know that that would happen because the second law is one of those "it would be wierd if it wasnt that way." My issue, I think, is how does the organization of the energy in a system drive the system against what it energetically wants to do. For example, how does an endothermic chemical reaction proceed as long as the entropy increases?

4. Nov 24, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

It is not entropy change and not enthalpy change that are driving force, but the change in Gibbs free energy, defined as ∆G=∆H-T∆S. So sometimes it is enthalpy that is a driving force of a process, and sometimes entropy that is responsible.

5. Nov 24, 2013

### epsaliba

I guess what I am trying to ask is, is there a way to describe entropy in terms of newtons laws of motion? For example, if there was some way for me to keep track of all of the equations of motion for every particle in a process, what would entropy represent in them? I guess I know what the equations are, but I do not really know what they are trying to convey. The way I view Gibbs free energy right now is that if I were to somehow link myself to some massive increase in entropy, I could walk up the stairs without performing any work.

6. Nov 24, 2013

### epsaliba

I just realized that is not right. What I wanted to say is, how could I make something "falling up" the stairs spontaneous simply by increasing the entropy contribbution to the gibbs free energy change enough?

7. Nov 24, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

That's exactly the water evaporation example.

8. Nov 24, 2013

### epsaliba

So does the entropy arise from the fact that not all of the water molecules are travelling at the same speed and some of them may have the energy necessary to evaporate?

9. Nov 24, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

Generally speaking when substance becomes gaseous its entropy is much higher than then it is a liquid or solid. Distribution of speeds definitely plays a role, but I don't feel well enough on the thermodynamic ground to quantify.