# Exploring Entropy: A Systems Engineering Perspective

• JD Heinzmann
In summary, exploring entropy from a systems engineering perspective involves understanding the natural tendency of systems to move towards disorder and randomness. This concept is crucial in the design and management of complex systems, as it helps engineers to identify potential sources of inefficiency and develop strategies to increase overall system performance. By utilizing tools such as information theory and statistical mechanics, systems engineers can gain valuable insights into the behavior and optimization of complex systems. By recognizing the role of entropy, engineers can better address challenges and improve the reliability and functionality of various systems.
JD Heinzmann
How did you find PF?
I was searching Google for a place to discuss the meaning of Entropy. I found https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/on-the-meaning-of-entropy/ and wanted to comment.
As a systems engineer I have thought a lot about entropy in trying to get a better intuitive sense for what it is, at a more macro level than it is usually discussed. I have some ideas and am looking for a forum to present and explore them with others. I wish to discuss more from an engineering perspective than a physics perspective, something that allows one to easily visualize what is going on in a thermodynamic process more viscerally than through the math. Not that I want to eschew the math, rather, I want to create a better context for it. My approach is to compare and contrast the thermal domain with other more familiar physical domains, electrical for example. I hope to be able to have such a discussion here. And maybe even help in making the task of teaching entropy easier.

JD Heinzmann said:
How did you find PF?: I was searching Google for a place to discuss the meaning of Entropy. I found https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/on-the-meaning-of-entropy/ and wanted to comment.

As a systems engineer I have thought a lot about entropy in trying to get a better intuitive sense for what it is, at a more macro level than it is usually discussed. I have some ideas and am looking for a forum to present and explore them with others. I wish to discuss more from an engineering perspective than a physics perspective, something that allows one to easily visualize what is going on in a thermodynamic process more viscerally than through the math. Not that I want to eschew the math, rather, I want to create a better context for it. My approach is to compare and contrast the thermal domain with other more familiar physical domains, electrical for example. I hope to be able to have such a discussion here. And maybe even help in making the task of teaching entropy easier.
Welcome to the PF, and we are glad that you enjoyed the Insights article.

We welcome technical discussions about all kinds of subjects, including thermo and entropy. Please do a forum search (upper right corner of the PF window) to see what has been discussed previously. Then start a thread in the appropriate technical forum to discuss any questions that you have. It's best to post links to the reading that you have been doing so far when starting such threads, to help us understand where you are in your learning.

Please do be aware that we generally do not allow personal theory development here at the PF. Discussions are based on the published literature, rather than personal speculations. It sounds like what you want to discuss may fall into a middle ground, so as long as your questions are based on your reading so far, that may be okay. Feel free to send me or another Mentor a Private Message (click my avatar and Start a Conversation) to see if a proposed thread start is okay.

Enjoy the PF!

Dear berkeman,

I very much appreciate your coaching here. I wonder if what I should do is write an article. This is more about how to think about entropy than it is about any kind of theory. It is about, how, as a physical system modeler, one would think about entropy in, for example, the model of heat conducting through the walls of a house. What I want to share are the insights I have gained in trying to get a feel for entropy (which from my perusing shows the PF forums have a great need for) in a simple straight-forward way. I mean, this has has been done so well in many of the other physical domains, but in my opinion, not in the thermal domain. But I also don't want to make a fool of myself here.

Perhaps I should write something and send it to you for feedback. Yes I could go ask some questions, but they would of the type "what do you think of looking at it this way". I'd like to present my conclusions and ask for feedback. I also don't know where I should post. Possibly in the education area. But so much of the questioning of "What is entropy" appears to be in the Classical Physics area. Maybe the engineering area?

Indeed, I have found literature to support what I want to discuss, mostly from some French authors of books on physical modelling of thermal systems.

To give you a hint of my approach, I would ask the leading question: What is it that flows when energy flows through a thermal system, like the wall of a house? I mean, we know what flows through an electrical system right? In the electrical domain, we've even named the unit for what flows (coulomb) and the rate of flow (ampere), but done no such thing for those things in the thermal domain. I wonder if such reticence to name units is part of why entropy remains such a mystery for so many.

Let me know if you are up for reviewing my writing before posting it. Or if you recommend someone else.

Thanks! -JD

JD Heinzmann said:
I would ask the leading question: What is it that flows when energy flows through a thermal system, like the wall of a house?
That would be a fine question to ask in the Classical Physics forum or the Mechanical Engineering forum, IMO. As long as you post links to your reading on the question, and are open to mainstream technical answers.
JD Heinzmann said:
Let me know if you are up for reviewing my writing before posting it.
Sure, please feel free to do that. There are other Mentors that I can run it by or invite into the Conversation as needed.

Since the New Member Introduction forum is meant for brief introductions, we should probably switch this to the PM system. Enjoy the PF!

Okay, thanks! -JD

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