Lagrangian formulation of irreversible thermodynamics and the second law of thermodynamics

Glavatskiy, K. S.
May 2015
Journal of Chemical Physics;2015, Vol. 142 Issue 20, p1
Academic Journal
We show that the equations which describe irreversible evolution of a system can be derived from a variational principle. We suggest a Lagrangian, which depends on the properties of the normal and the so-called "mirror-image" system. The Lagrangian is symmetric in time and therefore compatible with microscopic reversibility. The evolution equations in the normal and mirror-imaged systems are decoupled and describe therefore independent irreversible evolution of each of the systems. The second law of thermodynamics follows from a symmetry of the Lagrangian. Entropy increase in the normal system is balanced by the entropy decrease in the mirror-image system, such that there exists an "integral of evolution" which is a constant. The derivation relies on the property of local equilibrium, which states that the local relations between the thermodynamic quantities in non-equilibrium are the same as in equilibrium.


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