Training concept, evolution time, and the maximum entropy production principle

Alexey Bezryadin, Erik Kountz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The maximum entropy production principle (MEPP) is a type of entropy optimization which demands that complex non-equilibrium systems should organize such that the rate of the entropy production ismaximized. Our take on this principle is that to prove or disprove the validity of theMEPP and to test the scope of its applicability, it is necessary to conduct experiments in which the entropy produced per unit time is measured with a high precision. Thus we study electric-field-induced self-assembly in suspensions of carbon nanotubes and realize precise measurements of the entropy production rate (EPR). As a strong voltage is applied the suspended nanotubes merge together into a conducting cloud which produces Joule heat and, correspondingly, produces entropy. We introduce two types of EPR, which have qualitatively different significance: global EPR (g-EPR) and the entropy production rate of the dissipative cloud itself (DC-EPR). The following results are obtained: (1) As the system reaches the maximum of the DC-EPR, it becomes stable because the applied voltage acts as a stabilizing thermodynamic potential; (2)We discover metastable states characterized by high, near-maximum values of the DC-EPR. Under certain conditions, such efficient entropy-producing regimes can only be achieved if the system is allowed to initially evolve under mildly non-equilibrium conditions, namely at a reduced voltage; (3) Without such a "training" period the system typically is not able to reach the allowed maximum of the DC-EPR if the bias is high; (4) We observe that the DC-EPR maximum is achieved within a time, Te, the evolution time, which scales as a power-law function of the applied voltage; (5) Finally, we present a clear example in which the g-EPR theoretical maximum can never be achieved. Yet, under a wide range of conditions, the system can self-organize and achieve a dissipative regime in which the DC-EPR equals its theoretical maximum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number145
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Electro-rheological fluid
  • Entropy
  • Evolution
  • MEPP
  • Non-equilibrium dynamics
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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