Video 6.6 - Entropy and the Partition Function

This module introduces a new state function, entropy, that is in many respects more conceptually challenging than energy. The relationship of entropy to extent of disorder is established, and its governance by the Second Law of Thermodynamics is described. The role of entropy in dictating spontaneity in isolated systems is explored. The statistical underpinnings of entropy are established, including equations relating it to disorder, degeneracy, and probability. We derive the relationship between entropy and the partition function and establish the nature of the constant β in Boltzmann's famous equation for entropy. Finally, we consider the role of entropy in dictating the maximum efficiency that can be achieved by a heat engine based on consideration of the Carnot cycle. Homework problems will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in the application of the above concepts.

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