What does “order” and “disorder” mean in the context of chemistry?


Lecture keeps talking about order and disorder but I’m not sure I’m fully grasping it…

In: Chemistry

I’m assuming you are referring to entropy? Entropy by definition is “amount” of randomness. When we say a system (chemical or not) has low entropy, we mean that it has low randomness. In chemistry, this can refer to a few things, but think of adding a drop of food coloring to water. At first, the drop is concentrated on a blob on the water. This is higher entropy (disorder), as particles of dye and water are not evenly distributed. Wait a few minutes, or give it a stir, then the two liquids are mixed. This is lower entropy, as particles are more evenly distributed.

is it talking about entropy? Entropy is how much disorder/randomness/chaos there is in a thermodynamic system such as an ideal gas or a liquid or solid. We can calculate entropy which changes with pressure and temperature and internal energy. Disorder (entropy) increases with temperature and decreases with pressure.