D20.1 Third Law of Thermodynamics
Consider the entropy of a pure, perfectly crystalline solid possessing no kinetic energy (that is, at a temperature of absolute zero, 0 K). This system may be described by a single microstate, as its purity, perfect crystallinity and complete lack of motion means there is but one possible energy configuration (W = 1). Therefore, the entropy of this system is zero:
This limiting condition for a system’s entropy represents the third law of thermodynamics: the entropy of a pure, perfect crystalline substance at 0 K is zero.
Standard entropy (S°) values are the absolute entropies per mole of substance at a pressure of 1 bar or a concentration of 1 M. The standard entropy change (ΔrS°) for any chemical process may be computed from the standard entropy of its reactant and product species:
The thermodynamics table in the appendix lists standard entropies of select compounds at 298.15 K.
Exercise: Standard Entropy Change
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