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Remember by previous question regarding the reversal of entropy?...

Well now it's time to see if an object can be immune to the effects of entropy (or exempt from it. I'll go with either).

Criteria:

1: Object is NOT affected by Entropy in any regard

2: Object is Immune to the effects of Entropy

My Question: How do I scientifically explain a material EXEMPT from the effects of Entropy (handwaving is allowed. But don't make the answer one big handwave if possible)

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    $\begingroup$ Any potential answers will be an entire handwave. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ Entropy is just a property. It's quite like saying "unaffected by temperature" or "unaffected by statistics". Too many meanings, and no practical scientific sense. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ Disagree with down voting. It's not hard science, but the OP used the "science fiction" tag and is asking for assistance with handwaving. That's the norm here. It's fair to ask for more detail, but it might also be worth providing an answer about what this would really mean (eg. non-radiating things of ever-increasing heat or objects which would simply remain at absolute zero) and what portions of physics would need to be hand waved. $\endgroup$
    – GrinningX
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ @GrinningX but handwaving what, exactly? It's asking about object not affected by statistics, and immune to it's effects. As written, it is hard to understand, unclear and unusable. And does not show any own research effort. All these are valid reasons for downvotes. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ Yes an explanation of what is mean by immune to entropy would be needed to many any kind of guess, does it never transfer energy, does it possess momentum, is it affected by gravity, does it take up space, ect. entropy is a way to broad a concept, the material needs better qualification about what properties it does and does not have. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 3, 2017 at 4:19

4 Answers 4

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Entropy is typically thought of as a measure of randomness. It isn't a property or a force. Systems don't always increase entropy, just usually. But for any measurable system, the odds of entropy decreasing are unimaginably low.

For example, if you have a deck of cards that is sorted, except two cards are out of place, and you randomly swap two cards: you could be sorting the deck, decreasing randomness, but you are far more likely to be increasing it. The odds in this case are about 1/1378 of decreasing entropy and 1377/1378 of increasing it.

The only way you could make the deck of cards immune to entropy would be to make it impossible to rearrange the order of the cards. Similarly, for an object to be immune to entropy, it would have to simply be frozen, in stasis. You could handwave that, but realistically, even light bouncing off it would cause entropy, so you couldn't see it. It would effectively no longer be part of the universe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, another way to have a deck of cards immune to entropy would be to equip it with some combination of magnets, invisible connectors like monofilaments, nanobots, and unique connectors (like jigsaw puzzle pieces), so it could automagically restore itself to its standard order if shuffled (or dropped on the floor). $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 18:34
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It’s Alive

Nanoscale machines actively resist and repair the effects of wear and degradation. It consumes energy to do so, and causes the entropy of the entire system to increase; but the material itself will have entropy held at bay or even reversed (as long as you keep it charged).

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  • $\begingroup$ This increases entropy on the outside, you can still model how entropy "flows" in such system. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Feb 3, 2017 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot is the last sentence in my post not sufficient to make this clear? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 3, 2017 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ By "keeping it charged" you are effectively just transferring entropy out. See this. So it's not "unaffected by Entropy.It is affected all right, by both effects. Just like it's not antigravity if you provide energy to engine and fly. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Feb 3, 2017 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that, if you can manage to handwave a perpetual motion machine, you’re 42% of the way to handwaving entropy-immunity. $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2017 at 18:35
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The real problem with entropy is its affects in closed systems. Basically, they eventually they run down. To make anything exempt from or immune to entropy is not of itself, respectively, not possible.

However, if the object is permanently part of or connected to an open system whereby energy is constantly or continually flowing through or into the system, then that object won't run down. OK it will need to undergo continuous replacement and refurbishment of any bits that wear out.

Think of your entropy-exempt object as something continues to regenerate as it operates, taking in as much matter and energy as it loses. Open systems like this aren't "magically" exempt or immune to entropy, but they are more than capable of overcoming entropy's depredations.

Like JDlugosz such a system will appear to be alive. In his answer he suggested a nanosystem, this answer goes a bit further and suggests any system capable of self-repair, self-regeneration and which functions as an open system in terms of matter and energy qualifies. It may resemble an organic machine, but entropy won't take it down.

This answer has been accomplished with minimal hand-waving, and it hasn't even broken the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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  • $\begingroup$ I had thought of the example of a city whose infrastructure is “maintained” as a large-scale (non nano) embodyment, but the OP asked for a material so it operates at a smaller scale than our perception of it as a “substance”. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 3, 2017 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz A city's a good idea. Actually, that suggests, complex systems like forests or large-scale ecosystems would fit the bill too. I did a re-read the OP's question, it doesn't mention material it only specifies an object. Cities seem like objects to me. Well, biggish, distributed, multiple componented objects. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Feb 3, 2017 at 10:11
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Second principle of thermodynamics dictates that entropy within a closed system should increase as parts of the system interact with each other. Ignoring this principle would be non-scientific, but there are two possible workarounds (already mentioned in previous answers).

  1. Make your object immutable (or a least very resistant to any sort of changes). If your object is not changing, its entropy is not increasing;
  2. Make your object depend on outside world to preserve its state. Entropy of your object would be preserved at the expense of some external resource.
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