Disorder - A Cracked Crutch for Supporting Entropy Discussions

  title={Disorder - A Cracked Crutch for Supporting Entropy Discussions},
  author={Frank L. Lambert},
  journal={Journal of Chemical Education},
  • F. Lambert
  • Published 1 February 2002
  • Physics
  • Journal of Chemical Education
To aid students in visualizing an increase in entropy, many elementary chemistry texts use artists' before-and-after drawings of groups of "orderly" molecules that become "disorderly". This seems to be a useful visual support, but it can be so misleading as actually to be a failure-prone crutch. Ten examples illustrate the problem.Entropy is not disorder, not a measure of chaos, not a driving force. Energy's diffusion or dispersal to more microstates is the driving force in chemistry. Entropy… 

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