Gas Kinetic Theory of Entropy

  • Bahman Zohuri
  • Patrick McDaniel


This chapter will attempt to provide a physical understanding of the concept of entropy based on the kinetic theory of gases. Entropy in classical thermodynamics is a mathematical concept that is derived from a closed cycle on a reversible Carnot heat engine. For many students it lacks physical meaning. Most students have a physical understanding of variables like volume, temperature, and pressure. Internal energy and enthalpy are easy to understand, if not intuitive. However, entropy is a bit more difficult. The discussion that follows is an attempt to provide physical insight into the concept of entropy at the introductory level. Prof. Leonard K. Nash, Dover Edition, 2006, bases this discussion on the excellent text, Elements of Statistical Thermodynamics [1–4].


  1. 1.
    L.K. Nash, Elements of Statistical Thermodynamics, 2nd edn. (Dover Publications Inc, Mineola, 2006)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.F. Lee, F.W. Sears, D.L. Turcotte, Statistical Thermodynamics (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., Reading, 1973)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    F. Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics (Waveland Press, Inc, Long Grove, 2009)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L.B. Loeb, The Kinetic Theory of Gases, Dover Phoenix edn. (Dover Publications, Mineola, 1961)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bahman Zohuri
    • 1
  • Patrick McDaniel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Galaxy Advanced Engineering, Inc.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Nuclear EngineeringUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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