Title: Constructal theory of energy-system and environment flow configurations

Authors: A. Bejan, S. Lorente

Addresses: Duke University, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Durham, NC 27708-0300, USA. ' Laboratoire Materiaux et Durabilite des Constructions, Institut National des Sciences Appliquees, Departement de Genie Civil, 135 Avenue de Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse, France

Abstract: This paper outlines the place occupied by the constructal law in thermodynamics, and provides a vision of the future development of energy engineering as a transdisciplinary science of systems of systems. Natural and man-made flow systems do not exist in isolation. The optimal balance between engineered flow systems and their surroundings is achieved through the optimal distributing of thermodynamic imperfections. The paper traces the development of constructal theory from a principle of maximisation of flow access in morphing configurations to engineering discoveries, such as optimal internal spacings, tree-shaped flow networks, machine flight, and multi-scale flow structures for maximal heat transfer density. The introduction of constructal theory and design in thermodynamics education is also discussed.

Keywords: constructal law; dendritic; energy engineering; environment flow configurations; machine flight; tree networks; thermodynamics; system of systems; flow access; flow systems; heat transfer; multi-scale flow; education; exergy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEX.2005.007785

International Journal of Exergy, 2005 Vol.2 No.4, pp.335 - 347

Published online: 16 Sep 2005 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article