IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Thermodynamics today


  • Bejan, Adrian


In this paper I use the example set by Prof. Jan Szargut as point of reference for a brief look at the current state of thermodynamics—the doctrine, its reach and importance. I start with my first encounter with Prof. Jan Szargut in 1979, and I show how his work influenced mine. Next, I review the structure that underpins thermodynamics as a discipline: the laws and the self-standing phenomena that they underpin, and graphic methods that convey these principles. Along the way, I draw attention to a recent trend that is caused by the inflation in scientific publishing due to the internet: the most common mistakes and misconceptions in thermodynamics, and how they are being spread. In sum, this paper is a call to action, to value, improve and defend the science of thermodynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Bejan, Adrian, 2018. "Thermodynamics today," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 1208-1219.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:1208-1219
    DOI: 10.1016/

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucia, Umberto, 2013. "Stationary open systems: A brief review on contemporary theories on irreversibility," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(5), pages 1051-1062.
    2. N/A, 2012. "Letter to the editor," International Journal of Social Psychiatry, , vol. 58(4), pages 449-450, July.
    3. Bejan, Adrian, 1980. "Second law analysis in heat transfer," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 5(8), pages 720-732.
    4. Moran, M.J, 1998. "On second-law analysis and the failed promise of finite-time thermodynamics," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 517-519.
    5. Manjunath, K. & Kaushik, S.C., 2014. "Second law thermodynamic study of heat exchangers: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 348-374.
    6. Morris, David R. & Szargut, Jan, 1986. "Standard chemical exergy of some elements and compounds on the planet earth," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 11(8), pages 733-755.
    7. Sekulic, Dusan P. & Sciubba, Enrico & Moran, Michael J., 2015. "Entransy: A misleading concept for the analysis and optimization of thermal systems," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 251-253.
    8. Gyftopoulos, Elias P., 1999. "Infinite time (reversible) versus finite time (irreversible) thermodynamics: a misconceived distinction," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1035-1039.
    9. Szargut, Jan, 1980. "International progress in second law analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 5(8), pages 709-718.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Heng & Ge, Yanlin & Chen, Lingen & Feng, Huijun, 2021. "Power, efficiency, ecological function and ecological coefficient of performance optimizations of irreversible Diesel cycle based on finite piston speed," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 216(C).
    2. Song, Chang & Tan, Shuai & Qu, Fengcheng & Liu, Weidong & Wu, Yong, 2019. "Optimization of mixed refrigerant system for LNG processes through graphically reducing exergy destruction of cryogenic heat exchangers," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 200-206.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Zanchini, Enzo & Terlizzese, Tiziano, 2009. "Molar exergy and flow exergy of pure chemical fuels," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1246-1259.
    2. Biswal, Pratibha & Basak, Tanmay, 2017. "Entropy generation vs energy efficiency for natural convection based energy flow in enclosures and various applications: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1412-1457.
    3. Adrian Bejan, 2020. "Discipline in Thermodynamics," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(10), pages 1-8, May.
    4. Xu, Yun-Chao & Chen, Qun & Guo, Zeng-Yuan, 2015. "Entransy dissipation-based constraint for optimization of heat exchanger networks in thermal systems," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 696-708.
    5. Adrian Bejan & George Tsatsaronis, 2021. "Purpose in Thermodynamics," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(2), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Nguyen, Tuong-Van & Voldsund, Mari & Elmegaard, Brian & Ertesvåg, Ivar Ståle & Kjelstrup, Signe, 2014. "On the definition of exergy efficiencies for petroleum systems: Application to offshore oil and gas processing," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 264-281.
    7. Seckin, C. & Sciubba, E. & Bayulken, A.R., 2012. "An application of the extended exergy accounting method to the Turkish society, year 2006," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 151-163.
    8. Xu, Mingtian, 2011. "The thermodynamic basis of entransy and entransy dissipation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 4272-4277.
    9. Zhang, Yanfeng & Jiang, Chen & Shou, Binan & Zhou, Wenxue & Zhang, Zhifeng & Wang, Shuang & Bai, Bofeng, 2018. "A quantitative energy efficiency evaluation and grading of plate heat exchangers," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 228-233.
    10. Zhang, Wei & Zhang, Juhua & Xue, Zhengliang, 2017. "Exergy analyses of the oxygen blast furnace with top gas recycling process," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-146.
    11. Shamshiri, Mehdi & Ashrafizaadeh, Mahmud & Shirani, Ebrahim, 2012. "Effects of rarefaction, viscous dissipation and rotation mode on the first and second law analyses of rarefied gaseous slip flows confined between a rotating shaft and its concentric housing," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 359-370.
    12. Chen, B. & Chen, G.Q., 2007. "Modified ecological footprint accounting and analysis based on embodied exergy--a case study of the Chinese society 1981-2001," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 355-376, March.
    13. Bazooyar, Bahamin & Hosseini, Seyyed Yaghoob & Moradi Ghoje Begloo, Solat & Shariati, Ahmad & Hashemabadi, Seyed Hassan & Shaahmadi, Fariborz, 2018. "Mixed modified Fe2O3-WO3 as new fuel borne catalyst (FBC) for biodiesel fuel," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 438-453.
    14. Hao, Xiaoqing & An, Haizhong & Qi, Hai & Gao, Xiangyun, 2016. "Evolution of the exergy flow network embodied in the global fossil energy trade: Based on complex network," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 1515-1522.
    15. Nie, Wenjie & Lü, Ke & Chen, Aixi & He, Jizhou & Lan, Yueheng, 2018. "Performance optimization of single and two-stage micro/nano-scaled heat pumps with internal and external irreversibilities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 695-703.
    16. Chen, G.Q. & Qi, Z.H., 2007. "Systems account of societal exergy utilization: China 2003," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 208(2), pages 102-118.
    17. Peters, Jens F. & Petrakopoulou, Fontina & Dufour, Javier, 2015. "Exergy analysis of synthetic biofuel production via fast pyrolysis and hydroupgrading," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 325-336.
    18. Leites, I.L. & Sama, D.A. & Lior, N., 2003. "The theory and practice of energy saving in the chemical industry: some methods for reducing thermodynamic irreversibility in chemical technology processes," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 55-97.
    19. Silveira, Jose Luz & Lamas, Wendell de Queiroz & Tuna, Celso Eduardo & Villela, Iraides Aparecida de Castro & Miro, Laura Siso, 2012. "Ecological efficiency and thermoeconomic analysis of a cogeneration system at a hospital," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 2894-2906.
    20. Sogut, M. Ziya & Seçgin, Ömer & Ozkaynak, Süleyman, 2019. "Investigation of thermodynamics performance of alternative jet fuels based on decreasing threat of paraffinic and sulfur," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 1114-1120.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:1208-1219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.