Examples of Entropy and Why Things Break

If you are looking for how entropy is an integral part of our reality, then you have found it. An alternate title for this page would be: What Is the Meaning of Entropy in Our Day-to-Day Lives - The Top 10 Ways Entropy Messes with Us.

Among other things, this page has two lists. There is a short-description list of examples as to ways entropy affects our daily lives. And then there is a long-description list of examples explaining exactly how entropy does this.


For some readers, this page will be humorous. For other readers, this page will be serious. Both perceptions are correct. And it should be noted there are more than 10 ways scattered around this page. Lucky us.

List of Examples of the Effects of Entropy in Our Daily Lives

  • Why do things break down? That's entropy.
  • Why is Murphy's Law so prevalent? That's entropy.
  • Why do things malfunction? That's entropy.
  • Why are we obstructed in everything we try to do? That's entropy.
  • Why are there a hundred times more mistakes than accomplishments? That's entropy.
  • Why are there a hundred times more failures than successes? That's entropy.

The Universe - Entropy Is the Built-in Randomness of Reality

What does entropy mean to humanity? Whenever a human or humankind in general tries to create order, entropy immediately begins to disassemble it. This is why any man-made object will immediately begin to deteriorate upon its completion. It does not matter if it's a newly manufactured stick of gum or a newly-constructed, 100-story skyscraper; the result is always the same. Entropy immediately begins doing everything in its power to render it useless, broken-down, and of no value.

Chaos and Entropy

"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." - Albert Einstein in The Evolution of Physics

Why Things Break – List of Examples of How Entropy Works and Some of Its Methodologies

How Entropy Uses Oxidation

One of entropy's favorite methods. With any physical item humankind creates, whether made of most metals or other materials, entropy will immediately start to change the object's chemical structure. In due course the object's chemical composition becomes such that the object's original purpose is no longer viable; plain, ordinary rust being the most well-known example. Another common example are liquids. Pretty much any liquid, whether relating to food or industrial manufacturing, begins to decompose and becomes useless fairly quickly when not immediately used for its intended purpose.

How Entropy Uses Gravity

Another favorite tool of entropy. Quite simply, entropy will keep pulling on each and every object until the object comes crashing down, no matter how long it takes. Entropy never quits. And the larger the object, the more forceful the gravity and the more determined entropy becomes. Breakage and injuries, whether animate or inanimate, are the norm.

How Entropy Uses Friction

Another tool of entropy. The more often used term for "friction" is "wear-and-tear". Every time an object is used, it is subjected to wear-and-tear. Sooner or later, the wear-and-tear renders the object no longer usable. Cars and other vehicles being the most well-known examples. However, entropy's industriousness is also equally busy with all other manufactured machinery as well. There does happen to be one scenario where friction is a good thing, but this website is not going to go there.

How Entropy Uses Contamination

One of entropy's often used tools. This is where entropy uses one class of objects to destroy another class of objects. Probably the top categories of objects entropy uses to destroy other objects and entities are bacteria, viruses, and even plain, ordinary dust. In fact, when entropy isn't using oxidation to destroy all man made foods or industrially made liquids, contamination is what entropy then brings into play.

How Entropy Uses Heat

Otherwise known as an increase in temperature. For every degree increase in temperature, entropy accelerates decomposition, deterioration, destruction of the target object. Heat is entropy's favorite method for rendering any and all manufactured electronics useless. A decrease of temperature to .01 degrees Kelvin is minimum entropy. An increase of temperature to x millions/billions degrees is maximum entropy.

How Entropy Uses Synergy or Combinations of Destructive Methods

Combining methods from the above list is also an entropic standard procedure. Entropy really likes using the combination of methods where possible, because it accelerates the destruction; usually exponentially. The best example is where friction generates heat, which causes expansion, which causes more friction, which causes more heat, ad infinitum; the inevitable and sometimes quick result being the destruction of the victim object. Any manufactured item with moving parts is where this most often comes into play.

How Entropy Uses Cross-Purposes

Another often overlooked tool of entropy. Aside from the inherent cross-purposes designed into what we perceive as nature; we tend to forget humans are also a part of the same construct. So much so that humans are at cross-purposes more often than they are at equilibrium. The more disagreement, the more entropy. Taken to extreme, there is much more entropy during war than peace.

Randomness and Probability


Randomness – Entropy's Favorite Tool of All

Randomness can otherwise be defined as thermodynamics and/or quantum physics. The only difference between the two being the size of the objects entropy uses as its tools. In the case of thermodynamics, entropy uses atoms and molecules as its implementer. In the case of quantum physics, entropy uses subatomic particles. In both cases, whether they be molecules, atoms, or subatomic particles; the little critters immediately start randomly wandering around and going places where we don't want them to go.

Probability – Entropy Uses This Tool When It Just Wants to Have Fun

Two cars arriving at an intersection at the same time is an example of this. And then there are the asteroids, very large meteors, etc.... They can and do intersect Earth's orbit every now and again. And, of course, sooner or later Earth is just going to happen to be there. Probability is really just an attempt to understand the aforementioned category of randomness; with the additional factor of randomness using the much larger objects along with the smaller ones.

Entropy Is the Opposite of Order

Entropy is change, invariably for the worse. Entropy is constant. The proverb, "Change is constant", is true. Entropy is the antithesis and enemy of order. Energy and matter are in constant flux. Entropy's favorite concepts, quite simply, are: decomposition, destruction, deterioration, and chaos.

How does one compensate for and accept entropy? Keeping the following premises in mind will help.
  •  Entropy is not our friend.
  • Entropy can be slowed, but never stopped.
  • Entropy can be postponed, but never defeated.
  • Nothing lasts forever.
  • The universe doesn't care.

Entropy takes it all, whether you want it to or not, entropy takes it all. Entropy bears it away, and in the end, there is only darkness.*
*A paraphrased quote from Stephen King.

Have a nice day.

1 comment:

  1. Gravity is my biggest problem with entropy. I am constantly dropping thing or knocking things over. And at my age, it seems that the floor keeps getting farther away! ;-)

    ReplyDelete