Nevin Manimala Statistics

Nonequilibrium statistical thermodynamics of multicomponent interfaces

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 14;119(24):e2121405119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2121405119. Epub 2022 Jun 8.


Nonequilibrium interfacial thermodynamics has important implications for crucial biological, physical, and industrial-scale transport processes. Here, we discuss a theory of local equilibrium for multiphase multicomponent interfaces that builds upon the “sharp” interface concept first introduced by Gibbs, allowing for a description of nonequilibrium interfacial processes such as those arising in evaporation, condensation, adsorption, etc. By requiring that the thermodynamics be insensitive to the precise location of the dividing surface, one can identify conditions for local equilibrium and develop methods for measuring the values of intensive variables at the interface. We then use extensive, high-precision nonequilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulations to verify the theory and establish the validity of the local equilibrium hypothesis. In particular, we demonstrate that equilibrium equations of state are also valid out of equilibrium, and can be used to determine interfacial temperature and chemical potential(s) that are consistent with nonequilibrium generalizations of the Clapeyron and Gibbs adsorption equations. We also show, for example, that, far from equilibrium, temperature or chemical potential differences need not be uniform across an interface and may instead exhibit pronounced discontinuities. However, even in these circumstances, we demonstrate that the local equilibrium hypothesis and its implications remain valid. These results provide a thermodynamic foundation and computational tools for studying or revisiting a wide variety of interfacial transport phenomena.

PMID:35675427 | DOI:10.1073/pnas.2121405119

By Nevin Manimala

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