Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Research and Publications



Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics in Engineering and Science

Date of this Version



J. Phys. Chem. B 2004, 108, 31-43


This paper was originally published in the journal of “Physical Chemistry B” Volume 2004 and issue No108 (1), Month January and Pages 31-43 .

© 2004 American Chemical Society; Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

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The field of nonequilibrium thermodynamics has been a popular one outside the United States, especially in Europe, and scientists there from various disciplines have published extensively on the use of nonequilibrium thermodynamics in a large variety of biological, chemical, and mechanical engineering applications. In contrast, the number of publications from North America has been relatively modest. Here, we review the field of nonequilibrium thermodynamics to assess its utility and impact in engineering and science. We find that developments in the fields thermodynamic optimality of processes, dissipative structures, coupled transport and rate processes, and biological systems suggest that in some circumstances nonequilibrium thermodynamics can be quite useful.