Special Issue "Thermodynamics in the 21st Century"

A special issue of Inventions (ISSN 2411-5134). This special issue belongs to the section "Inventions and innovation in Energy and Thermal/Fluidic Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alexander Klimenko
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: reacting flows; turbulence; energy; conventional and non-conventional thermodynamics; multiscale phenomena; technology and its cycles; complex competitive systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Hal Gurgenci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Interests: concentrating solar thermal; power generation using supercritical CO2 cycles
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Debra Bernhardt
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: theory and simulation of nonequilibrium fluids; fluctuation theorems; algorithms for advanced theoretical modelling methods; transport in nanoporous materials; advanced nanomaterials for energy storage and conversion; catalysis and fuel cells
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Thermodynamics started almost 200 years ago with the invention of an engine by Sadi Carnot. Today, it is seen by some as an old science. Yet thermodynamic perspectives, thermodynamic ideas and thermodynamic thinking are at the forefront of scientific and technological development once again. The modern challenge for thermodynamics is its application, both at very small and very large scales, which range from quantum objects, to biological systems, and to stars and galaxies. Thermodynamics has to deal with highly non-equilibrium states, with non-extensivity and complexity. Fundamentally, thermodynamics stands alone among other physical sciences pointing to directional properties of time. Practically, preserving favourable thermodynamic conditions on Earth has become one of the principal issues for our civilisation. The editors invite all researchers who love and believe in the importance of thermodynamics to exchange opinions about the role that thermodynamics will play in our rapidly changing world. General submissions discussing the foundations of thermodynamics and more specific works linked to recent technological advances are welcome.

Dr. Alexander Klimenko
Prof. Dr. Hal Gurgenci
Prof. Dr. Debra J. Searles (Bernhardt)
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • thermodynamic principles
  • complexity
  • technological change

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Thermodynamics of Manufacturing Processes—The Workpiece and the Machinery
Inventions 2019, 4(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4020028 - 15 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Considered the world’s largest industry, manufacturing transforms billions of raw materials into useful products. Like all real processes and systems, manufacturing processes and equipment are subject to the first and second laws of thermodynamics and can be modeled via thermodynamic formulations. This article [...] Read more.
Considered the world’s largest industry, manufacturing transforms billions of raw materials into useful products. Like all real processes and systems, manufacturing processes and equipment are subject to the first and second laws of thermodynamics and can be modeled via thermodynamic formulations. This article presents a simple thermodynamic model of a manufacturing sub-process or task, assuming multiple tasks make up the entire process. For example, to manufacture a machined component such as an aluminum gear, tasks include cutting the original shaft into gear blanks of desired dimensions, machining the gear teeth, surfacing, etc. The formulations presented here, assessing the workpiece and the machinery via entropy generation, apply to hand-crafting. However, consistent isolation and measurement of human energy changes due to food intake and work output alone pose a significant challenge; hence, this discussion focuses on standardized product-forming processes typically via machine fabrication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle
A Thermodynamic Model for Lithium-Ion Battery Degradation: Application of the Degradation-Entropy Generation Theorem
Inventions 2019, 4(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4020023 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Presented is a lithium-ion battery degradation model, based on irreversible thermodynamics, which was experimentally verified, using commonly measured operational parameters. The methodology, applicable to all lithium-ion batteries of all chemistries and composition, combined fundamental thermodynamic principles, with the Degradation–Entropy Generation theorem, to relate [...] Read more.
Presented is a lithium-ion battery degradation model, based on irreversible thermodynamics, which was experimentally verified, using commonly measured operational parameters. The methodology, applicable to all lithium-ion batteries of all chemistries and composition, combined fundamental thermodynamic principles, with the Degradation–Entropy Generation theorem, to relate instantaneous capacity fade (loss of useful charge-holding capacity) in the lithium-ion battery, to the irreversible entropy generated via the underlying dissipative physical processes responsible for battery degradation. Equations relating capacity fade—aging—to battery cycling were also formulated and verified. To show the robustness of the approach, nonlinear data from abusive and inconsistent battery cycling was measured and used to verify formulations. A near 100% agreement between the thermodynamic battery model and measurements was achieved. The model also gave rise to new material and design parameters to characterize all lithium-ion batteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle
Full Statistics of Conjugated Thermodynamic Ensembles in Chains of Bistable Units
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010019 - 14 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The statistical mechanics and the thermodynamics of small systems are characterized by the non-equivalence of the statistical ensembles. When concerning a polymer chain or an arbitrary chain of independent units, this concept leads to different force-extension responses for the isotensional (Gibbs) and the [...] Read more.
The statistical mechanics and the thermodynamics of small systems are characterized by the non-equivalence of the statistical ensembles. When concerning a polymer chain or an arbitrary chain of independent units, this concept leads to different force-extension responses for the isotensional (Gibbs) and the isometric (Helmholtz) thermodynamic ensembles for a limited number of units (far from the thermodynamic limit). While the average force-extension response has been largely investigated in both Gibbs and Helmholtz ensembles, the full statistical characterization of this thermo-mechanical behavior has not been approached by evaluating the corresponding probability densities. Therefore, we elaborate in this paper a technique for obtaining the probability density of the extension when force is applied (Gibbs ensemble) and the probability density of the force when the extension is prescribed (Helmholtz ensemble). This methodology, here developed at thermodynamic equilibrium, is applied to a specific chain composed of units characterized by a bistable potential energy, which is able to mimic the folding and unfolding of several macromolecules of biological origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle
Temperature Distribution through a Nanofilm by Means of a Ballistic-Diffusive Approach
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010002 - 03 Jan 2019
Abstract
As microelectronic devices are important in many applications, their heat management needs to be improved, in order to prolong their lifetime, and to reduce the risk of damage. In nanomaterials, heat transport shows different behaviors than what can be observed at macroscopic sizes. [...] Read more.
As microelectronic devices are important in many applications, their heat management needs to be improved, in order to prolong their lifetime, and to reduce the risk of damage. In nanomaterials, heat transport shows different behaviors than what can be observed at macroscopic sizes. Studying heat transport through nanofilms is a necessary tool for nanodevice thermal management. This work proposes a thermodynamic model incorporating both ballistic, introduced by non-local effects, and diffusive phonon transport. Extended thermodynamics principles are used in order to develop a constitutive equation for the ballistic behavior of heat conduction at small-length scales. Being an irreversible process, the present two-temperature model contains a one-way transition of ballistic to diffusive phonons as time proceeds. The model is compared to the classical Fourier and Cattaneo laws. These laws were not able to present the non-locality that our model shows, which is present in cases when the length scale of the material is of the same order of magnitude or smaller than the phonon mean free path, i.e., when the Knudsen number K n O ( 1 ) . Moreover, for small K n numbers, our model predicted behaviors close to that of the classical laws, with a weak temperature jump at both sides of the nanofilm. However, as K n increases, the behavior changes completely, the ballistic component becomes more important, and the temperature jump at both sides of the nanofilms becomes more pronounced. For comparison, a model using Fourier’s and Cattaneo’s laws with an effective thermal conductivity has shown, with reasonable qualitative comparison for small Knudsen numbers and large times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermogravitational Cycles: Theoretical Framework and Example of an Electric Thermogravitational Generator Based on Balloon Inflation/Deflation
Inventions 2018, 3(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions3040079 - 30 Nov 2018
Abstract
Several studies have involved a combination of heat and gravitational energy exchanges to create novel heat engines. A common theoretical framework is developed here to describe thermogravitational cycles which have the same efficiencies as the Carnot, Rankine, or Brayton cycles. Considering a working [...] Read more.
Several studies have involved a combination of heat and gravitational energy exchanges to create novel heat engines. A common theoretical framework is developed here to describe thermogravitational cycles which have the same efficiencies as the Carnot, Rankine, or Brayton cycles. Considering a working fluid enclosed in a balloon inside a column filled with a transporting fluid, a cycle is composed of four steps. Starting from the top of the column, the balloon goes down by gravity, receives heat from a hot source at the bottom, then rises and delivers heat to a cold source at the top. Unlike classic power cycles which need external work to operate the compressor, thermogravitational cycles can operate as a “pure power cycle” where no external work is needed to drive the cycle. To illustrate this concept, the prototype of a thermogravitational electrical generator is presented. It uses a hot source of average temperature near 57 °C and relies on the gravitational energy exchanges of an organic fluorinated fluid inside a balloon attached to a magnetic marble to produce an electromotive force of 50 mV peak to peak by the use of a linear alternator. This heat engine is well suited to be operated using renewable energy sources such as geothermal gradients or focused sunlight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle
The Thermodynamics of Internal Combustion Engines: Examples of Insights
Inventions 2018, 3(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions3020033 - 22 May 2018
Abstract
A major goal of the development of internal combustion (IC) engines continues to be higher performance and efficiencies. A major aspect of achieving higher performance and efficiencies is based on fundamental thermodynamics. Both the first and second laws of thermodynamics provide strategies for [...] Read more.
A major goal of the development of internal combustion (IC) engines continues to be higher performance and efficiencies. A major aspect of achieving higher performance and efficiencies is based on fundamental thermodynamics. Both the first and second laws of thermodynamics provide strategies for and limits to the thermal efficiencies of engines. The current work provides three examples of the insights that thermodynamics provides to the performance and efficiencies of an IC engine. The first example evaluates low heat rejection engine concepts, and, based on thermodynamics, demonstrates the difficulty of this concept for increasing efficiencies. The second example compares and contrasts the thermodynamics associated with external and internal exhaust gas dilution. Finally, the third example starts with a discussion of the Otto cycle analysis and explains why this is an incorrect model for the IC engine. An important thermodynamic property that is responsible for many of the observed effects is specific heat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Noisy and Marvelous Molecular World of Biology
Inventions 2019, 4(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4020024 - 16 Apr 2019
Abstract
At the molecular level biology is intrinsically noisy. The forces that regulate the myriad of molecular reactions in the cell are tiny, on the order of piconewtons (10−12 Newtons), yet they proceed in concerted action making life possible. Understanding how this is [...] Read more.
At the molecular level biology is intrinsically noisy. The forces that regulate the myriad of molecular reactions in the cell are tiny, on the order of piconewtons (10−12 Newtons), yet they proceed in concerted action making life possible. Understanding how this is possible is one of the most fundamental questions biophysicists would like to understand. Single molecule experiments offer an opportunity to delve into the fundamental laws that make biological complexity surface in a physical world governed by the second law of thermodynamics. Techniques such as force spectroscopy, fluorescence, microfluidics, molecular sequencing, and computational studies project a view of the biomolecular world ruled by the conspiracy between the disorganizing forces due to thermal motion and the cosmic evolutionary drive. Here we will digress on some of the evidences in support of this view and the role of physical information in biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview
Current Advances in Ejector Modeling, Experimentation and Applications for Refrigeration and Heat Pumps. Part 2: Two-Phase Ejectors
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010016 - 06 Mar 2019
Abstract
Two-phase ejectors play a major role as refrigerant expansion devices in vapor compression systems and can find potential applications in many other industrial processes. As a result, they have become a focus of attention for the last few decades from the scientific community, [...] Read more.
Two-phase ejectors play a major role as refrigerant expansion devices in vapor compression systems and can find potential applications in many other industrial processes. As a result, they have become a focus of attention for the last few decades from the scientific community, not only for the expansion work recovery in a wide range of refrigeration and heat pump cycles but also in industrial processes as entrainment and mixing enhancement agents. This review provides relevant findings and trends, characterizing the design, operation and performance of the two-phase ejector as a component. Effects of geometry, operating conditions and the main developments in terms of theoretical and experimental approaches, rating methods and applications are discussed in detail. Ejector expansion refrigeration cycles (EERC) as well as the related theoretical and experimental research are reported. New and other relevant cycle combinations proposed in the recent literature are organized under theoretical and experimental headings by refrigerant types and/or by chronology whenever appropriate and systematically commented. This review brings out the fact that theoretical ejector and cycle studies outnumber experimental investigations and data generation. More emerging numerical studies of two-phase ejectors are a positive step, which has to be further supported by more validation work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview
Current Advances in Ejector Modeling, Experimentation and Applications for Refrigeration and Heat Pumps. Part 1: Single-Phase Ejectors
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010015 - 06 Mar 2019
Abstract
Ejectors used in refrigeration systems as entrainment and compression components or expanders, alone or in combination with other equipment devices, have gained renewed interest from the scientific community as a means of low temperature heat recovery and more efficient energy use. This paper [...] Read more.
Ejectors used in refrigeration systems as entrainment and compression components or expanders, alone or in combination with other equipment devices, have gained renewed interest from the scientific community as a means of low temperature heat recovery and more efficient energy use. This paper summarizes the main findings and trends, in the area of heat-driven ejectors and ejector-based machines, using low boiling point working fluids, which were reported in the literature for a number of promising applications. An overall view of such systems is provided by discussing the ejector physics principles, as well as a review of the main developments in ejectors over the last few years. Recent achievements on thermally activated ejectors for single-phase compressible fluids are the main focus in this part of the review. Aspects related to their design, operation, theoretical and experimental approaches employed, analysis of the complex interacting phenomena taking place within the device, and performance are highlighted. Conventional and improved ejector refrigeration cycles are discussed. Some cycles of interest employing ejectors alone or boosted combinations are presented and their potential applications are indicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview
Ground-Coupled Natural Circulating Devices (Thermosiphons): A Review of Modeling, Experimental and Development Studies
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010014 - 28 Feb 2019
Abstract
Compared to conventional ground heat exchangers that require a separate pump or other mechanical devices to circulate the heat transfer fluid, ground coupled thermosiphons or naturally circulating ground heat exchangers do not require additional equipment for fluid circulation in the loop. This might [...] Read more.
Compared to conventional ground heat exchangers that require a separate pump or other mechanical devices to circulate the heat transfer fluid, ground coupled thermosiphons or naturally circulating ground heat exchangers do not require additional equipment for fluid circulation in the loop. This might lead to a better overall efficiency and much simpler operation. This paper provides a review of the current published literature on the different types of existing ground coupled thermosiphons for use in applications requiring moderate and low temperatures. Effort has been focused on their classification according to type, configurations, major designs, and chronological year of apparition. Important technological findings and characteristics are provided in summary tables. Advances are identified in terms of the latest device developments and innovative concepts of thermosiphon technology used for the heat transfer to and from the soil. Applications are presented in a novel, well-defined classification in which major ground coupled thermosiphon applications are categorized in terms of medium and low temperature technologies. Finally, performance evaluation is meticulously discussed in terms of modeling, simulations, parametric, and experimental studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessReview
Molecular Thermodynamics Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy
Inventions 2019, 4(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions4010013 - 21 Feb 2019
Abstract
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is perhaps the most widely used technology from the undergraduate teaching labs in organic chemistry to advanced research for the determination of three-dimensional structure as well as dynamics of biomolecular systems... The NMR spectrum of a molecule under [...] Read more.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is perhaps the most widely used technology from the undergraduate teaching labs in organic chemistry to advanced research for the determination of three-dimensional structure as well as dynamics of biomolecular systems... The NMR spectrum of a molecule under a given experimental condition is unique, providing both quantitative and structural information. In particular, the quantitative nature of NMR spectroscopy offers the ability to follow a reaction pathway of the given molecule in a dynamic process under well-defined experimental conditions. To highlight the use of NMR when determining the molecular thermodynamic parameters, a review of three distinct applications developed from our laboratory is presented. These applications include the thermodynamic parameters of (a) molecular oxidation from time-dependent kinetics, (b) intramolecular rotation, and (c) intermolecular exchange. An experimental overview and the method of data analysis are provided so that these applications can be adopted in a range of molecular systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics in the 21st Century)
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