Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics of Transport

  • S. Roy Caplan


This chapter presents in relatively simple terms the basic concepts of non-equilibrium thermodynamics (NET), and shows how these concepts can be used for the macroscopic description and evaluation of bioenergetic phenomena. The chemical and physical processes with which we are concerned in biophysics are, in the thermodynamic sense, irreversible, and generally do not take place at, or close to, equilibrium. The classical thermodynamic approach, however, is based on the consideration of equilibrium states, and its methodology depends on the notion of reversible processes, i.e. hypothetical ideal processes that can occur without disturbing equilibrium. It is a far cry from such idealized systems to the living cell — hence the need for a more comprehensive biothermodynamics. This need is exactly what NET, even in its simplest linear form, can often fulfill [1–3].


Irreversible Process Dissipation Function Vectorial Process Phenomenological Equation GIBBS Equation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Roy Caplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Membrane ResearchWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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