Home LifestyleMath What is Delta S in Chemistry? (Delta H vs. Delta S)

What is Delta S in Chemistry? (Delta H vs. Delta S)

by Logan
Chemistry Materials

Chemistry deals with substances, and because Delta S is used in chemistry, it deals with the same matter. This explains why Delta talks about changes, reactions, and processes. There are other types of Delta, such as Delta Q and Delta T.

However, this article will deal with Delta H and Delta S specifically. The symbol of Delta looks somewhat like a triangle: . This symbol represents “change” or “difference.”

They also have other names, such as Delta H as enthalpy and Delta S as entropy. They’re related to one another because they’re used to describe variations.

Let’s dive further into understanding these terms.

Is Delta H the Same as Delta S?

Delta H and Delta S are different things altogether. However, I’ve found that people often confuse the two terms. It is easy to mix up their meanings and use them in other contexts as they sound similar.

Here is a tip that will help you remember the two terms better! Please take a look at their respective spelling. As you have noticed, Delta H has “H” and does enthalpy.

Automatically, this makes Delta S or entropy. An easier way to not forget this is to associate and remember the “H” present in Delta H and enthalpy.

As enthalpy contains an H, it becomes easier to associate it with Delta H. This is how you may remember the terms and differentiate between them more easily.

What is Delta H in Chemistry?

To understand Delta S better, let’s look at Delta H first. It is used to describe whether a system absorbs or emits heat. In contrast to entropy, enthalpy measures the total energy within a particular system.

Therefore, if the change in enthalpy or Delta H is positive, that indicates an increase in the total amount of power within the system. On the other hand, if Delta H or enthalpy is negative, this is associated with a decrease in the total energy held within a system.

Formula for Delta H

The formula for enthalpy or Delta H is ∆H = m x s x ∆T. To determine the change in enthalpy; you must make calculations.

You must calculate the total mass of the reactants (m), the particular heat of the product (s), and Delta T, which is the temperature change from the reaction.

By simply plugging the values in the formula, we can multiply and solve for the change in enthalpy. In other words, you can find Delta H in chemistry by subtracting the sum of enthalpies of the reactants from the total enthalpies of the products.

What Does it Mean if Delta H is Positive (+) or Negative (-)?

As mentioned above, a negative Delta H is associated with a decrease in net energy, and a positive Delta H indicates an increase in total power.

Delta H being negative suggests that the reaction gives off heat from reactants to products, which is considered favorable. Furthermore, a negative Delta H means that the heat flows from a system to its surroundings.

When Delta H is negative, it’s regarded as an exothermic reaction. This is because the enthalpy of the products is lower than that of the reactants in a system.

The enthalpies in a reaction are less than zero and therefore considered exothermic. In contrast, a Positive Delta H indicates the heat flowing from its surrounding into a system. This is an endothermic reaction where heat or energy is gained.

Examples for a Positive or Negative Delta H:

An example to help better understand positive or negative Delta H conditions is: When water changes from liquid to solid, Delta H is considered harmful as the water emits heat into the surroundings.

However, when water changes from liquid to gas, Delta H is considered positive as it gains or absorbs heat from its surroundings. Moreover, 36 kJ of energy is supplied through an electric heater immersed in water. In this case, the enthalpy of the water will increase by 36 kJ, and ∆H will be equal to +36 kJ.

This example confirms the notion that Delta H is positive when energy is gained from surroundings in the form of heat.

What is Delta S?

As mentioned, Delta S is a term that represents the total change in entropy. It is a measurement used to determine the degree of randomness or disorder in a particular system.

What Does Delta S Represent in Chemistry?

Delta S represents the change in entropy from reactants to products. It’s measured in a way where the system’s entropy increases after the value of Delta S becomes positive. A positive change in entropy is associated with the rise in the disorder.

Therefore, all spontaneous change occurs due to the increase in entropy of the universe. However, if the entropy of a system faces a decrease after an event, then the value of Delta S would be negative.

Formula for Delta S

The formula for Delta S is the change in entropy equal to the heat transfer (Delta Q) divided by the temperature (T). The “product minus reactants” rule is commonly used to calculate Delta S for a chemical reaction.

For further reference or information, you may look at Entropy changes in chemical reactions to better understand the formula and how it is used.

Girl writing formula in white board.
Keep its formula in your mind for future references.

What Does a Positive or Negative Delta S Mean?

As stated earlier, positive Delta S is associated with a favorable process. That is to say; the reaction will continue without any need for energy input.

On the other hand, a negative Delta S is associated with an unfavorable or nonspontaneous process. This suggests that energy input is required for a method to continue or a reaction.

This energy input will help the reaction proceed further as a negative Delta S cannot complete a process or further respond independently, unlike the case with positive Delta S.

Predicting if Delta S is Positive (+) or Negative (-)?

Let’s look at predicting the entropy of physical and chemical reactions! To determine whether a physical or a chemical reaction will increase or decrease entropy, you have to thoroughly observe and examine all phases of the present species during the response.

If ΔS is positive, the universe’s disorder is increasing. The change which denotes a positive ΔS is usually associated with an increase from reactants to products.

An example of such a case is: If there are solids on the reactants’ side and liquids on the products’ side, the sign of Delta S will be positive. Additionally, if there are solids on the reactants’ side and aqueous ions on the products’ side, this will also be associated with increased entropy.

In contrast, a negative Delta S is associated with a reversal in the reaction phases, and this change is now from liquids to solids and ions to solids. This leads to a decrease in entropy and, therefore, a negative Delta S.

Take a look at this video about entropy to understand this concept in chemistry and physics!

Learn from Jeff Phillips’ crash course on entropy.

What is the relationship between Delta S and Delta H?

In a thermodynamic system, enthalpy (Delta H) is an energy-like state function property equal to the net energy in a system. At the same time, entropy (Delta S) is the degree of the innate disorder of a system under specific conditions.

A Dutch scientist introduced the term enthalpy as “total heat content.” His name is Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. In line with this, enthalpy doesn’t only have the total heat content. It also determines how much heat is added or removed from a system.

On the other hand, the term entropy is associated with the idea that heat always flows from hot to cold regions spontaneously, which is known as a change in entropy. This time, it was introduced by the scientist Rudolf Clausius.

Chemistry materials including dropper.
Measuring things isn’t always dull.

One crucial difference between the two is that you can measure only the change in enthalpy after a chemical reaction. Delta H cant is measured by itself. You can measure only the difference in energy or change in heat.

However, Delta S or entropy measures the movement rather than the total change. In some cases, enthalpy is more significant than entropy after the multiplication of the latter by temperature T. In short, H> S. The excess is known as Gibbs’s free energy.

What is the Difference Between Delta H and Delta S?

You might have learned the differences between the two by now. But in case you’re still finding it difficult, here’s a table with summarized differences between enthalpy and entropy:

Enthalpy Entropy
Measurement of energyMeasurement of randomness or disorder
Represented by Delta H Represented by Delta S
Unit: KiloJoules/moleUnit: Joules/Kelvin.mole
Positive enthalpy is associated with endothermic processesPositive entropy is related to spontaneous processes
Negative enthalpy is about exothermic processesNegative entropy is about nonspontaneous processes
You cannot measure it on its ownCan be measured
Applicable in standard conditionsNo limits or conditions
The system favors minimum enthalpyThe system favors maximum entropy
Pointers that could help you remember.

Final Thoughts

While there are many differences between the two terms, there are a few similarities. These include that both enthalpy and entropy are state functions and extensive properties.

To summarize, Delta H is a symbol for enthalpy, which measures how much energy an average particle has in the system. On the other hand, Delta S symbolizes entropy and a measure of disorder, chaos, and movement of the particles within a system.

Both the terms are essential in the context of understanding the way that chemical processes or reactions take place. While they may be different, it is through both that important chemical processes can be measured.

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