A important property of all systems in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Entropy characterizes the degree to which the energy of the system is *not* available to do useful work

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Entropy with infinite baths

I'm struggling with the following problem: (Stephen J. Blundell, Concepts in Thermal Physics S. 154 Problem 14.5): A block of lead of heat capacity 1kJ/K is cooled from 200K to 100K in two ...
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251 views

How certain is the heat death of the universe?

According to our current scientific knowledge, how certain is it that heat death shall be the ultimate fate of our universe, and why? Are there any serious hypotheses competing with heat death, and if ...
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359 views

Why the dissolution of hydrophobic compounds decreases the entropy of water molecules in the vicinity of the solute?

The following is a quote from Lehninger's Principles of Biochemistry, 4th edition, pg.52: (...) dissolving hydrophobic compounds in water produces a measurable decrease in entropy. Water ...
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104 views

Can anyone explain the idea behind dS ∝ dV/V?

In a lecture on entropy, one of the equations $dS ∝ \frac {dV}{V}$ was explained as "a fractional change in volume as a measure of the increase in randomness" (related to $\frac{dQ}{T}$) How does ...
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Gauge fixing the Einstein's gravity action

This is in reference to this paper, arXiv:1204.4061. I was wondering if someone can give me a reference which explains this gravitational gauge fixing that they have done in $2.10$ and how that ...
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104 views

How irreversible processes are possible?

Susskind says that all laws of mechanics are reversible and any valid mechanic law most be reversible: you can always determine the previous state of any physically valid system. However, the simplest ...
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72 views

In calculating entropy, why can the partitioning of an ensemble into microstates be chosen “somewhat arbitrarily”?

I'm confused by statistical entropy. It seems to me like the number of microstates for a given macrostate would increase without bound as finer partitionings of the phase space are chosen. Why is it ...
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88 views

What is the effect of phase transition on the thermodynamic state variables of a material?

When a material undergoes a phase transition, it releases an amount of heat (under a specific temperature). So the effect of the phase transition on entropy would be equal to: \begin{align} ...
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119 views

Explain entropy (again)

I think I understand entropy finally. Will you verify for me? $$S = k_B \ln( \Omega)$$ where $\Omega$ (the multiplicity) is the degeneracy of the system at some energy (E)? So if the system is a ...
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237 views

Will entropy continue to increase even if the universe begins to contract?

If the universe is heading for a big crunch, when the universe starts to collapse will entropy decrease and the arrow of time consequently reverse or not? I'm interested in the explanations, not just ...
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50 views

Are there anti entropic agents [duplicate]

The entropy of an isolated system always increases, Considering an intelligent actor in the system who can organise different objects in the system, doesnt the measure of disorder reduce albeit for ...
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614 views

Motivation for the use of Tsallis entropy

Every now and again I hear something about Tsallis entropy, $$ S_q(\{p_i\}) = \frac{1}{q-1}\left( 1- \sum_i p_i^q \right), \tag{1} $$ and I decided to finally get around to investigating it. I haven't ...
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Entropy increase vs Conservation of information (QM)

Unitarity of quantum mechanics prohibits information destruction. On the other hand, the second law of thermodynamics claims entropy to be increasing. If entropy is to be thought of as a measure of ...
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256 views

How does that Boltzmann distribution interact with entropy?

In an ideal gas, the Boltzmann distribution predicts a distribution of particle energies $E_i$ proportional to $ge^{-E_i/k_bT}$. But, doesn't entropy dictate that the system will always progress ...
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254 views

Bekenstein entropy black hole v.s Hawking entropy black hole

Historically, Bekenstein estimated the entropy associated with a black hole in 1973, obtaining: $$ S_B = \frac{\ln(2)k_Bc^3}{8\pi\hbar G}A. $$ He already acknowledges in his article that his estimates ...
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312 views

How does Landauer's Principle apply in quantum (and generally reversible) computing

I understand that a reversible computer does not dissipate heat through the Landauer's principle whilst running - the memory state at all times is a bijective function of the state at any other time. ...
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311 views

Is there really such a thing as an irreversible process?

If an isolated system goes from a state A to B, will it always eventually fluctuate back to state A? If not, give an simple example. Is it right to say that entropy only says that the probability ...
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412 views

Why doesnt this violate 2nd law of thermodynamics?

Consider an ideal gas in a cylindrical container in a gravitational field, with a piston on top pushing down by gravity. The piston has some locking mechanism that locks it in place if it is displaced ...
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232 views

Volume quotient in Carnot-cycle

Problem: One kilomole of an ideal, monatomic gas undergoes a reversible Carnot-processes between temperatures 300 °C and 20 °C. The work done during one cycle is 1500 kJ. a) Find the ...
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273 views

Theoretical or experimental violations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? [closed]

Theoretical challenges to the 2nd Law? What are some the theoretical challenges to the 2nd Law? (cf. Čápek, Vladislav, and Daniel P. Sheehan. Challenges to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Theory ...
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579 views

Intuitive understanding of the entropy equation

In thermodynamics, entropy is defined as $ d S = \dfrac{\delta q_{\rm }}{T}$. This definition guarantees that heat will transfer from hot to cold, which is the second law of thermodynamics. But, why ...
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416 views

``What is life?'' by a physicist definition [closed]

The question is about defining ``What is life?'' in the field of Physics. Whether there is any (insightful) way of defining ``What is life?'' from physicists. There are pioneer works, including ...
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Intuitive understanding of the definition of entropy

In Wikipedia, the definition of entropy goes like this: $ d S = \dfrac{\delta q_{\rm }}{T}$. The literal interpretation of this equation is that some amount of heat transferred into a system, if the ...
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Are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?

If my understanding is correct, neither reversible nor adiabatic processes are necessarily isentropic. But are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?
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Why isn't absolute $0 K$ temperature possible?

So $T$ is defined as $$T = \left(\frac{\partial E}{\partial S}\right)$$ and $S$ is defined as $$S = k_B \ln \Omega$$ where $\Omega$ is the number of accessible states of the system for a given ...
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How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics?

How do you prove the second law of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics? To prove entropy will only increase with time? How to prove? Please guide.
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Victorian cosmology after the second law of thermodynamics but before relativity?

In the 19th century, most astronomers adopted an island universe model, in which our galaxy was the only object in an infinite space. They didn't know that the "spiral nebulae" were other galaxies. ...
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Equation of state of a rubber band

I have the following question that I attached in png format. I have done part (a), but I am having difficulties in part (b) when I proceed according to the book. I have non zero tension at ...
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278 views

Second Law of Thermodynamics…confusion over an example

By the second law of thermodynamics, you shouldn't be able to use any amount of mirrors/lenses to focus sunlight onto an object and heat it past the surface temperature of the sun (approximately ...
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926 views

How does the entropy of an isolated system increase?

The change of entropy is defined $$\Delta S = \int \frac{dQ_\mathrm{rev}}{T}.$$ If a system is isolated the heat transfer between the system and the surroundings is zero ($dQ = 0$), thus $\Delta S = ...
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620 views

Is it possible for the entropy in an isolated system to decrease?

As far as I can tell, the concept of entropy is a purely statistical one. In my engineering thermodynamics course we were told that the second law of Thermodynamics states that "the entropy of an ...
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1answer
118 views

Does a universe experiencing “heat death” have a temperature?

As defined by Wikipedia: The heat death of the universe is a suggested ultimate fate of the universe in which the universe has diminished to a state of no thermodynamic free energy and ...
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248 views

The surface area to volume ratio of a sphere and the Bekenstein bound

I am trying to relate the surface-area-to-volume-ratio of a sphere to the Bekenstein bound. Since the surface-area-to-volume-ratio decreases with increasing volume, one would surmise that, per unit of ...
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Entropy used to calculate energy?

I'm currently reading an online article, and below is a quote from that article: The thermodynamic entropy to change $n$ memory cells within $m$ states is $ΔS=k_B\ln(m^n)$, where $k_B$ is the ...
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260 views

What is the importance of state functions in physics?

I'm currently reading about the Carnot cycle and its significance on the formulation of entropy (because I want to try to understand the concept better), but I can't seem to answer the following ...
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Any closed system?

Is there any physical example of a real closed system? I am aware that the whole universe can be considered as a closed system, but I am looking for a smaller example.
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Entropy as an arrow of time

From what I understand, entropy is a concept defined by the experimentalist due to his ignorance of the exact microstate of a system. To say the number of accessible microstates $W$ of the universe is ...
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Intuition behind the formula for macroscopic entropy

Wikipedia says that the 'macroscopic' definition of entropy is: $$ \Delta S = \displaystyle \int \dfrac{dQ_{\rm rev}}{T}$$ Where $T$ is the uniform absolute temperature of a closed system and ...
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Casimir effect as an entropic force

When I first learned about the depletion interaction, my initial reaction was that it looks very similar to the Casimir effect. On making this remark to the professor, he replied somewhat mystically: ...
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Entropy of the Sun

Is it possible to measure or calculate the total entropy of the Sun? Assuming it changes over time, what are its current first and second derivatives w.r.t. time? What is our prediction on its ...
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Is there a known generalization of the Schmidt decomposition based on a maximal set of “locally recorded branches”?

I came across an unusual multi-partite generalization of the Schmidt decomposition in my work, which I describe below. Usually, when people say "a multi-partite Schmidt decomposition", they mean a ...
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Calculating the ideal mixing entropy using Gibbs' entropy formula

Two distinguishable gases are in separate volumes $xV$ and $(1-x)V$ $(x\in [0,1])$ respectively, and the number of particles on each side is $xN$ and $(1-x)N$ respectively. The volumes are separated ...
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Why do organisms accumulate potential energy?

I can understand that animals need some battaries to run. But, we learn that plants serve like batteries for animals because they accumulate the sun energy in the first place! You can eat them or burn ...
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Should entropy have units and temperature in terms of energy? [duplicate]

I've been thinking about entropy for a while and why it is a confusing concept and many references are filled with varying descriptions of something that is a statistical probability (arrows of time, ...
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85 views

Local decoherence and entropy

Consider a quantum system consisting of two subsystems, $A$ and $B$. Let $\rho$ be the density matrix of the whole system $A\cup B$. Let $|\alpha\rangle$, $\alpha = 1,2\cdots d_B$, be the states of ...
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The statistical nature of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Ok, so entropy increases... This is supposed to be an absolute statement about entropy. But then someone imagines a box with a 10 particle gas, and finds that every now and then all particles are in ...
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60 views

Which pressure to use in the $T~ds$ equation?

Let's say I have an adiabatic, rigid, open container that has an amount of air at some pressure, $P_\text{cv}$, and some temperature, $T_\text{cv}$. I have heated pressurized air coming into the ...
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Shouldn't the sign of generated entropy always be positive?

I have a process where 10 g of liquid lead at 400 C is dropped into a water bath that is at 25 C. The lead solidifies over time and comes to thermal equilibrium with the water bath. The bath is so ...
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What is Verlinde's statistical description of gravity as an entropic force? [duplicate]

What is Verlinde's statistical description of gravity as an entropic force leads to the correct inverse square distance law of attraction between classical bodies?
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Why do humans like to break the second law of thermodynamics? [closed]

Roughly speaking, Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. However as humans, we tend to do the complete opposite. For instance, in a home if a painting that is hanging on the wall is ...