NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1031150
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Visualizing the Entropy Change of a Thermal Reservoir
Langbeheim, Elon; Safran, Samuel A.; Yerushalmi, Edit
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n3 p380-385 Mar 2014
When a system exchanges energy with a constant-temperature environment, the entropy of the surroundings changes. A lattice model of a fluid thermal reservoir can provide a visualization of the microscopic changes that occur in the surroundings upon energy transfer from the system. This model can be used to clarify the consistency of phenomena such as crystallization or similar phase transitions with the second law of thermodynamics; in those phenomena, students intuitively grasp that the system entropy decreases, but may not have a clear picture of how it is compensated by an increase in the reservoir entropy. The model may be used in the classroom to visually demonstrate how processes in which the entropy of the system decreases can occur spontaneously; specifically, it shows how the reservoir temperature affects the magnitude of the entropy change that occurs upon energy transfer from the system.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A