An introduction to endoreversible thermodynamics

Karl Heinz Hoffmann


Reversible thermodynamic processes are convenient abstractions of real processes, which are always irreversible. Approaching the reversible regime means to become more and more quasistatic, letting behind processes which achieve any kind of finite transformation rate for the quantities studied. On the other hand studying processes with finite transformation rates means to deal with irreversibilities and in many cases these irreversibilities must be included in a realistic description of such processes. Endoreversible thermodynamics is a non-equilibrium approach in this direction by viewing a system as a network of internally reversible (endoreversible) subsystems exchanging energy in an irreversible fashion. This material provides an introduction to the subject.

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