Classically, thermodynamics dealt mainly with equilibrium states in which all the state variables such as temperature, volume, concentrations of substances, free energy, etc., were constant (Holman, 1969). This last variable is particularly important since it distinguishes equilibrium states from some nonequilibrium steady states where free energy is continually being used. For a nonequilibrium steady state to be maintained, a source of energy is continuously required to replace the energy expended. A “resting” cell can be considered to be in just such a nonequilibrium steady state because it requires a continual source of energy for its metabolism and to maintain the gradients of substances that normally occur across cell membranes.
KeywordsSolute Molecule Dissipation Function Irreversible Thermodynamic Osmotic Coefficient Mate Charge
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