Engineering

Machine learning unlocks secrets to advanced alloys

The concept of short-range order (SRO)—the arrangement of atoms over small distances—in metallic alloys has been underexplored in materials science and engineering. But the past decade has seen renewed interest in quantifying ...

Entropy

Entropy is a concept applied across physics, information theory, mathematics and other branches of science and engineering. The following definition is shared across all these fields:

where S is the conventional symbol for entropy. The sum runs over all microstates consistent with the given macrostate and is the probability of the ith microstate. The constant of proportionality k depends on what units are chosen to measure S. When SI units are chosen, we have k = kB = Boltzmann's constant = 1.38066×10−23 J K−1. If units of bits are chosen, then k = 1/ln(2) so that .

Entropy is central to the second law of thermodynamics. The second law in conjunction with the fundamental thermodynamic relation places limits on a system's ability to do useful work.

The second law can also be used to predict whether a physical process will proceed spontaneously. Spontaneous changes in isolated systems occur with an increase in entropy.

The word "entropy" is derived from the Greek εντροπία "a turning towards" (εν- "in" + τροπή "a turning").

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