Entropy - The Equipartition of Energy

Entropy - The Equipartition of Energy...

It's like filling up the ice cube tray to make just one ice cube. So you have a jug full of caloric (there is no such thing, it is just a usefull concept) and you are pouring the caloric into an ice cube tray, and you are watching the level of rise in the one ice cube compartment that you are pouring the water into. It is one of those trays which has the interlocking aluminium criss-cross partitions that sits in a plain tray - so you can tip the ice with the loosely fitting partitions out and the cubes break free from the partition lattice.

But you just keep pouring and the level rises slowly in the partition you are watching. If you are using a small tray, say with just four cube compartments (for a mini-bar fridge) the level in the cube partition you are watching rises reasonably quickly. If you are using a bigger tray, with many more of the same size ice cube partitions, the level in the partition you are watching rises more slowly.

So whats going on? And what has this got to do with Entropy?

Well the energy being transferred is filling up each partition equally, and the more partitions for the energy that are possible the lower the proportion of the energy input goes to raising the temperature. More complex systems have more partitions, and whenever possible ice-cube trays join up adding complexity and dissipating any form of energy you are focusing on into more partitions.

OK, that is a pretty awful description. I am sure I could make it better if I had more time.

Cheers, Jim