What is Diffusion?

[+] Author and Article Information
E. P. Gyftopoulos, M. I. Flik

Mechanical Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

G. P. Beretta

Università di Brescia, Brescia, Italy

J. Energy Resour. Technol 116(2), 136-139 (Jun 01, 1994) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2906018 History: Received August 06, 1992; Revised August 30, 1993; Online April 16, 2008


In earlier publications, heat Q ← is defined as an interaction that is entirely distinguishable from work W → . The energy exchanged Q ← is T Q times the entropy exchanged S ← , where T Q is the almost common temperature of the interacting systems. Here, we define diffusion as another interaction that is entirely distinguishable from both work and heat, and that involves exchanges of energy, entropy, and amount of a constituent. It is an interaction between two systems A and B that pass through stable equilibrium states while their respective parameters remain fixed, and that have almost equal temperatures T A ≈ T B ≈ T D and almost equal total potentials μ A ≈ μ B ≈ μ D of the diffusing constituent. The exchanges of entropy S → , energy E → , and amount of constituent n → out of one system satisfy the relation S → = (E→ −μ D n → )/T D . In the limit of n → = 0, a diffusion interaction becomes heat.

Copyright © 1994 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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