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Crystal Structure and the Laws of Thermodynamics

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 Chemistry   |   Physics   |   Science
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Crystals bring order out of chaos. Does their formation violate the laws of thermodynamics? Materials chemist Dr Suze Kundu explores the relationship between crystals and entropy, with footage from the Ri Archives channel.
Watch more classic archive footage: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxM3Fds7Z9hfgrWJaIcjRLA
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This is day 20 of our advent calendar. Open each window here: http://www.rigb.org/christmas-lectures/supercharged-fuelling-the-future/thermodynamics-2016-advent-calendar?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=201612_channel_advent

Crystals are highly ordered structures. Their molecules align in regular patterns across three-dimensional space.

Does the formation of crystals violate the second law of thermodynamics? After all, if entropy is always increasing, how can complex stable structures like crystals form? Chemist Suze Kundu explains the nature of crystals and how they can exist without violating the laws of thermodynamics, with the help of some beautiful footage from our recently released Bragg video archive.

Dr Suze Kundu is a materials chemist, teaching fellow, and science presenter and writer. Follow her: https://twitter.com/FunSizeSuze

For parts of the Ri archive footage, we have tried to contact any known copyright holders and believe it to be orphan work. If you are the rights holder, would like it to be taken down, or have any more information, please get in touch at richannel@ri.ac.uk.


The 2016 advent calendar explores the four laws of thermodynamics with a new short film each day, with explosive demonstrations, unique animations, and even a musical number. Open the calendar at http://www.rigb.org/christmas-lectures/supercharged-fuelling-the-future/thermodynamics-2016-advent-calendar?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=201612_channel_advent

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