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Q & A: entropy of boiled eggs

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2014
Q:
A normal egg is converted into boiled egg at that time entropy will decrease but this is not happened.what is the reason behind it?
- Chintu singh (age 16)
Bhubaneswar
A:

 As you heat up the egg, of course the entropy goes up. One of the ways it goes up is by the unfolding of the albumen molecules, so they flop around in more positions than the orignal folded versions. 

As the egg cools, its entropy of course goes down. It won't go down as much as the entropy of the surroundings go up using the heat that flows out of the egg. Because the albumin molecules get tangled up with each other when they're hot, they never manage to return to the special initial folded pattern. 

When the boiled egg has cooled down to room temperature, does it have more entropy than it did to start with? . The tangled proteins can have all sorts of different configurations, but then so could the little rolling balls of protein before they were cooked. There's also lots of entropy in the thermal vibrations of the molecules. That also must be a little different for the cooked and uncooked eggs. So I don't know which has more net entropy.

Mike W.


(published on 07/24/2013)

Follow-Up #1: entropy of boiled eggs

Q:
boiled egg is hard, so there is entropy change ? in which books we give avidance
- omprakash (age 30)
pali, rajathan,india
A:

That's a very nice question. Thinking about it has made me go back and revise an old answer on the same issue.

Mike W.


(published on 10/22/2014)

Follow-up on this answer.