Entropic force

In thermodynamics, entropic force or "force of entropy" is oft-used, albeit ill-defined, term used to describe the thermodynamic force aspects of the entropy in a system.

In 1923, American physicists Gilbert Lewis and Merle Randall were describing free energy as the driving force of chemical reactions. In particular, according to the equation:


They state that “we may think of the quantity – ΔF as the driving force for a reaction.” This view traces back to the 1882 proof by German physicist Hermann Helmholtz that free energy is the true measure of the affinity (or driving force) of the reaction.

In this view, one may then see the two driving forces of an isothermal isobaric chemical reaction as composed of two parts:

Driving force = – ΔF = TΔS – ΔH = “entropic force” (TΔS) + “enthalpic force” (– ΔH)

Hence the term “entropic force” has come to be a common phrase, but is not specifically defined in most cases.

Social entropic force
In the context of sociological thermodynamics, in the 1994 book The Trouble with Canada, which has sold over 50,000 copies, Canadian English professor William Gairdner uses the concept of entropic force and social entropy to a good extent. Gairdner postulates that societies are created like galaxies, by a certain initial force, and that over time they dissipate heat, or energy, moving toward a cooler state, culminating in heat death. [1]

1. Gairdner, William D. (1994). The Trouble with Canada: a Citizen Speaks Out (Section: The Concept of Social Entropy, pgs. 207-8; terms: “entropy”, 211-13, 216, 218, 233, 240, 273, 281, 344; “entropic force”, pgs. 211, etc.). Revised edition, 2007, BPS Books.

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