Understanding Entropy: What is it?

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In summary, entropy is a measure of the number of ways a system can be arranged and is often seen as a measure of disorder or tendency towards equilibrium. It never decreases in an isolated system as they naturally move towards equilibrium. Clarification of the term would require a specific aspect of it to be addressed.
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ls1datson
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I know this is elementary, but I'm having trouble understanding the definition of entropy. If someone could better clarify the term for me it would be much appreciated.
 
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from wikipedia:

Entropy is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of disorder, or a measure of progressing towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, which is the state of maximum entropy.
 
  • #3
ls1datson said:
If someone could better clarify the term for me it would be much appreciated.

It would help if you could tell us what you don't understand about it. Otherwise we're just "shooting in the dark."
 

Related to Understanding Entropy: What is it?

1. What is entropy?

Entropy is a measure of the disorder or randomness in a system. It is often described as a measure of the amount of energy that is unavailable to do work.

2. How is entropy related to the second law of thermodynamics?

The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in a closed system will always increase over time. This means that the disorder or randomness in a system will increase, and the amount of energy available to do work will decrease.

3. Can entropy be reversed?

In theory, yes, but in practice, it is very unlikely. The increase of entropy is a natural and irreversible process. However, some processes, such as refrigeration, can decrease entropy in a localized area, but the overall entropy of the system will still increase.

4. Why is understanding entropy important in science?

Entropy is a fundamental concept in physics and chemistry, and it is essential for understanding the behavior of matter and energy in our universe. It is also crucial in fields such as thermodynamics, information theory, and statistical mechanics.

5. How does entropy relate to the concept of order and disorder?

Entropy is often associated with disorder and randomness because as entropy increases, the level of order in a system decreases. However, it is important to note that entropy is not the same as randomness, as some highly ordered systems can still have high levels of entropy.

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