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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry