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A Novel Derivation of the Time Evolution of the Entropy for Macroscopic Systems in Thermal Non-Equilibrium

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Roma Sapienza, 00184 Roma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2017, 19(11), 594;
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 4 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entropy, Time and Evolution)
The paper discusses how the two thermodynamic properties, energy (U) and exergy (E), can be used to solve the problem of quantifying the entropy of non-equilibrium systems. Both energy and exergy are a priori concepts, and their formal dependence on thermodynamic state variables at equilibrium is known. Exploiting the results of a previous study, we first calculate the non-equilibrium exergy En-eq can be calculated for an arbitrary temperature distributions across a macroscopic body with an accuracy that depends only on the available information about the initial distribution: the analytical results confirm that En-eq exponentially relaxes to its equilibrium value. Using the Gyftopoulos-Beretta formalism, a non-equilibrium entropy Sn-eq(x,t) is then derived from En-eq(x,t) and U(x,t). It is finally shown that the non-equilibrium entropy generation between two states is always larger than its equilibrium (herein referred to as “classical”) counterpart. We conclude that every iso-energetic non-equilibrium state corresponds to an infinite set of non-equivalent states that can be ranked in terms of increasing entropy. Therefore, each point of the Gibbs plane corresponds therefore to a set of possible initial distributions: the non-equilibrium entropy is a multi-valued function that depends on the initial mass and energy distribution within the body. Though the concept cannot be directly extended to microscopic systems, it is argued that the present formulation is compatible with a possible reinterpretation of the existing non-equilibrium formulations, namely those of Tsallis and Grmela, and answers at least in part one of the objections set forth by Lieb and Yngvason. A systematic application of this paradigm is very convenient from a theoretical point of view and may be beneficial for meaningful future applications in the fields of nano-engineering and biological sciences. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-equilibrium thermodynamics; entropy; non-equilibrium diffusion non-equilibrium thermodynamics; entropy; non-equilibrium diffusion
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Sciubba, E.; Zullo, F. A Novel Derivation of the Time Evolution of the Entropy for Macroscopic Systems in Thermal Non-Equilibrium. Entropy 2017, 19, 594.

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