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Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics

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Volume 44, Issue 4


Thermodynamic Merger of Fluctuation Theorem and Principle of Least Action: Case of Rayleigh–Taylor Instability

Shripad P. Mahulikar
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076, India
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Tapan K. Sengupta / Nidhi Sharma / Pallavi Rastogi
  • Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076, India
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2019-06-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jnet-2018-0091


Entropy fluctuations with time occur in finite-sized time-evolving dissipative systems. There is a need to comprehend the role of these fluctuations on the fluctuations-averaged entropy generation rate, over a large enough observation time interval. In this non-equilibrium thermodynamic investigation, the Fluctuation Theorem (FT) and Principle of Least Action are re-visited to articulate their implications for dissipative systems. The Principle of Maximum Entropy Production (MaxEP: the entropy generation rate of a dissipative system is maximized by paths of least action) is conceptually identified as the Principle of Least Action for dissipative systems. A Thermodynamic Fusion Theorem that merges the FT and the MaxEP is introduced for addressing the role of fluctuations in entropy production. It identifies “entropy fluctuations” as the “least-action path” for maximizing the time-averaged entropy production in a dissipative system. The validity of this introduced theorem is demonstrated for the case of entropy fluctuations in Rayleigh–Taylor flow instability.

Keywords: dissipative systems; entropy fluctuations; maximum entropy principle; extremal principles; Fluctuation Theorem; least-action principle


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About the article

Received: 2018-11-26

Revised: 2019-04-20

Accepted: 2019-05-10

Published Online: 2019-06-07

Published in Print: 2019-10-25

Funding Source: Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Award identifier / Grant number: DF/FEP/73509(FA)/2017-IITK/2148

The authors are grateful to the Inter-IIT Faculty Exchange Program vide IIT-Kanpur’s office order no. DF/FEP/73509(FA)/2017-IITK/2148 dt, 5 Dec 2017, for supporting this theoretical research.

Citation Information: Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, Volume 44, Issue 4, Pages 363–371, ISSN (Online) 1437-4358, ISSN (Print) 0340-0204, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jnet-2018-0091.

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