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Chemical and Process Engineering Resources

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Category: Thermodynamics
Question: I am looking for a definition for ISENTROPIC that in plain ordinary English, can you help?
Keywords: plain,explaination,isentropic
Answer: Answering your question in "plain ordinary English" is quite a challenge. Probably because ISENTROPIC refers to a process that occurs at constant ENTROPY which is a "measure of disorder". ENTROPY is a difficult concept for anyone to understand. Consider this:Let's say you are in a hot air ballon 100 feet above the ground. You drop 100 bricks to the ground. The likelyhood of the brick landing one on top of another to form a brick wall is very, very small. However, the chances ofthe bricks landing in a jumbled pile on the ground are very good. We would say that the "LIKELYHOOD OF THE JUMBLED PILE" is higher than that of the brick wall or the ENTROPY OF THE JUMBLED PILE IS HIGHER than the brick wall.Essentially, the greater the statistical probability of a particular state or arrangement of "things", the greater the entropy. For example, a crystalline solid of highly order molecules (such as salt) has a much LOWER entropy (degree of disorder) and a pool of liquid water. The liquid water molecules are much more DISORDERED than the crystalline structure of the salt.ISENTROPIC would be like saying that the chances the bricks falling to the ground and forming a wall are EXACTLY EQUAL to the chances of the bricks walling into a disorder pile.To my knowledge, real world examples of ISENTROPIC systems are rare...in fact I can't think of one! It is sometimes used to analyze systems of gases when assuming ideal gas properties (perfectly elastic molecules collisions). This is good for estimating and reduces the difficulty of the problems without sacraficing significant accuracy. However, assuming ideal gas properties is generally safe only at lower pressures.Hope I've helped here...."plain English"?.....I'm not sure....but I think it's as close as you'll get!