The direct application of the Second Law to design has been very elusive. The potential that it could provide the key to some very elegant approach to design was always sensed hut was not fully realised until comparatively recently. This elusive and powerful approach was identified as the optimisation of the design of thermal systems through minimising the rate of entropy generation, i.e. exergy loss. Methods of identifying and formulating the rate of entropy generation in terms of common design parameters such as heat exchanger tube diameter or solar collector operating temperature were developed leading to a rational economics basis for the optimisaition of a thermal system or piece of equipment. The approach is very powerful. Not only does it allow the optimum design to be identified but by comparing two non-optimum designs it is possible to choose between them the design nearer the optimum being the obvious better choice.
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