What is Entropy

The tendency of a particle to move from higher levels of organization and structure to lower levels is known as Entropy. This tendency happens in the molecular levels. This phenomenon is regularly seen by everyone in their day to day activities. This concept when considered in physics relates to the second law of thermodynamics. In physics, entropy can be considered to be a mathematical measurement which defines the movement of potential energy from higher state to the lower state. Entropy as a term is coined form the Greek word which means transformation.

Let us understand this concept better with the help of a few examples. When a bowl of water is heated, the water is turning from the liquid state to the gaseous state. This phenomenon occurs due to the transfer of energy form one molecule to another, which in turn makes the molecules of the particle active and thus evaporates. This process as we know is evaporation. But, this process continuous till there is heat being produced, but once the heat is off the molecules automatically cool down according to the room temperature. This process of cooling down of substance according to the room temperature in the absence of heat energy is known as entropy.

Temperature is not the only transformation which is caused in entropy. The changes which occur in entropy can also be from the movement of substance from disequilibrium to the equilibrium state. This is another transformation that is caused in entropy. For example, when a drop of ink is dropped into a glass of clear water, even without stirring, the ink spreads to every molecule of the water until it covers the entire glass. Here, in this example, what can be observed is that the entropy also causes the movement of substance from disequilibrium to equilibrium.

Entropy makes its presence even in the virtual motion that involves gravity. Gravity is present everywhere on earth. Hence, you need a force to hold a substance form facing gravity. For example, if you have a ball, in order to stop it falling to the ground, you need to hold it in your hand. The movement of an object from high potential energy to low potential energy can also be referred to entropy. The ball at a height would have high potential energy and when dropped reaches the position where it has the least potential energy.

Hence, entropy can be referred to as a specific value. This value would help in measuring energy released by an object to move from a high potential energy zone to low potential energy zone. It is easy to calculate energy but practically creating the scenario to measure energy is difficult.