, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 779-793
Date: 19 Nov 2012

On a variational principle in thermodynamics

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The dynamic principle is proposed that a thermodynamic system evolves in time so that the total energy balance including the energy drawn from the environment becomes stationary for all admissible variations of thermodynamic states. It is shown that this principle allows to obtain variational characterizations of contact Hamiltonian equations (even in presence of ports), reaction equations and doubly nonlinear reaction–diffusion equations. Further, examples are discussed which support this principle.

Communicated by Andreas Öchsner.