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In which of the following systems is entropy increasing? (Do not include the...

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celestabrown | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM via web

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In which of the following systems is entropy increasing? (Do not include the surroundings as part of the system.)

A thin stick is placed in a glass of sugar-saturated water, and sugar crystals form on the stick.

An egg is broken and scrambled.   A cluttered room is cleaned and organized.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM (Answer #1)

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Entropy is characterized as an increase in disorder. In your examples, the crystals on the stick are becoming ordered, decreasing entropy; the breaking and scrambling of the egg is increasing entropy (since the well-rounded order of the egg is no more) and the cluttered room becoming ordered is decreasing entropy.

One of the postulates of this Universe is that entropy is always increasing -- the examples where it appears not to are strictly local -- in other words, energy is consumed when entropy is reversed, and that energy is forever spent and cannot be used again. Energy, in this Universe, can locally reverse entropy, but overall the Universe will tend towards maximum entropy and minimum energy.

 

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