Third Law of Thermodynamics

The entropy of a substance is zero if the absolute temperature is zero

The First Law of Thermodynamics forms the

  • basis for quantitative analysis of chemical reactions

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is used to

  • identify the directions of chemical reactions

The Third Law of Thermodynamics states that

  • the entropy of any pure substance in thermodynamic equilibrium approaches zero as the temperature approaches zero (Kelvin), or conversely
  • the temperature (Kelvin) of any pure substance in thermodynamic equilibrium approaches zero when the entropy approaches zero

The Third Law of Thermodynamics can mathematically be expressed as

lim ST→0 = 0                               (1)


S = entropy (J/K)

T = absolute temperature (K)

At temperature absolute zero there is no thermal energy or heat. At temperature zero Kelvin the atoms in a pure crystalline substance are aligned perfectly and do not move. There is no entropy of mixing since the substance is pure.

The absolute zero temperature is the reference point for determination entropy. Absolute entropy of a substance can be calculated from measured thermodynamic properties by integrating differential equations of state from absolute zero. For a gas this requires integrating through solid, liquid and gaseous phases.

Related Topics

Related Documents

  • 1st Law of Thermodynamics - The First Law of Thermodynamics simply states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed (conservation of energy). Thus power generation processes and energy sources actually involve conversion of energy from one form to another, rather than creation of energy from nothing
  • 2nd Law of Thermodynamics - The second law is concerned with entropy, which is a measure of disorder. The second law says that the entropy of the universe increases
  • Equilibrium - Mechanical, thermal, electrostatic, phase and chemical equilibrium
  • Steam Entropy - Basic steam thermodynamics and the entropy diagram
  • Standardized Enthalpies and Entropies - Standardized enthalpies and entropies for some common substances
  • Thermodynamic Terms, Functions and Relations - Common thermodynamic terms and functions - potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal or internal energy, chemical energy, nuclear energy and more
  • Air Properties - Density, specific heat, thermal conductivity, expansion coefficient, kinematic viscosity and Prandtl's number - air temperature ranging -150 oC to 400 oC
  • Water - Thermodynamic Properties - Thermal properties of water - density, freezing temperature, boiling temperature, latent heat of melting, latent heat of evaporation, critical temperature and more
  • Zeroth Law of Temperature - Temperature and heat flow

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