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Differences Between Enthalpy and Entropy

Enthalpy vs Entropy

Curiosity is one aspect of a human which helps him discover the different phenomena in the world. One human looks at the sky and wonders how the rain is formed. One human stares at the ground and wonders how plants are able to grow. These are everyday phenomenon that we encounter in our lives, but those people who are not inquisitive enough never attempt to look for answers why such phenomena exist. Biologists, chemists, and physicists are only a few people who try to seek for answers. Our modern world today is integrated with the laws of science such as thermodynamics. “Thermodynamics” is a branch of natural science which involves the study of the body systems’ internal motions. It is a study concerned with the relationship of heat to different forms of energy and work. Applications of thermodynamics are exhibited in the flow of electricity and from just a simple twist and turn of a screw and other simple machines. As long as heat and friction are involved, there is thermodynamics. The two most common principles of thermodynamics are enthalpy and entropy. In this article, you will learn more about the differences between enthalpy and entropy.

In a thermodynamic system, the measure of its total energy is called enthalpy. To create a thermodynamic system, internal energy is required. This energy serves as the push or the trigger to build a system. The enthalpy’s unit of measurement is the joule (International System of Units) and the calorie (British Thermal Unit). “Enthalpy” is from the Greek word enthalpos (to put heat into). Heike Kamerlingh Onnes was the person who coined the word while Alfred W. Porter was the one who designated the “H” symbol for “enthalpy.” In biological, chemical and physical measurements, enthalpy is the most preferred expression for system energy changes because it has the ability to simplify particular definitions of energy transfer. It is impossible to achieve the value for the total enthalpy because a system’s total enthalpy cannot be directly measured. Only the change in enthalpy is the preferred measurement of quantity rather than the enthalpy’s absolute value. In endothermic reactions, there is a positive change in enthalpy, while in exothermic reactions, there is a negative change in enthalpy. To put it simply, the enthalpy of a system is equivalent to the summation of non-mechanical work done and the heat supplied. Under constant pressure, enthalpy is equivalent to the change of the system’s internal energy plus the work that the system has exhibited to its surroundings. In other words, heat may be absorbed or released by a certain chemical reaction under such conditions.

“Entropy” is the second law of thermodynamics. It is one of the most fundamental laws in the field of physics. It is essential in understanding life and cognition. It is viewed as the Law of Disorder. In the middle of the last century, “entropy” was already formulated with the extensive efforts of Clausius and Thomson. Clausius and Thomson were inspired by Carnot’s observation of a stream that makes the turning of a mill wheel. Carnot stated that thermodynamics is the flow of heat from higher to lower temperatures that makes a steam engine work. Clausius was the one who coined the term “entropy.” The symbol for entropy is “S” which states that the world was viewed to be inherently active wherein it acts spontaneously to scatter or minimize the presence of a thermodynamic force.


  1. “Enthalpy” is the transfer of energy while “entropy” is the Law of Disorder.

  2. Enthalpy takes the “H” symbol while entropy takes the “S” symbol.

  3. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes coined the term “enthalpy” while Clausius coined the term “entropy.”

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