nLab rational thermodynamics




physics, mathematical physics, philosophy of physics

Surveys, textbooks and lecture notes

theory (physics), model (physics)

experiment, measurement, computable physics

Measure and probability theory



What is called rational thermodynamics is a proposal (Truesdell 72) to base the physics of irreversible thermodynamics on a system of axioms and derive the theory from these formally.

The success of the axioms of rational thermodynamics as a theory of physical phenomena has been subject of debate. But the idea as such that continuum physics can be and should be given a clear axiomatic foundation seems to have inspired William Lawvere (see there for more), once an undergraduate student of Clifford Truesdell, to base continuum mechanics on constructions in topos theory, such as synthetic differential geometry and cohesion.


Original books include

  • Clifford Truesdell, A first course in rational continuum mechanics. Pure and Applied Mathematics, Academic Press, New York, San Francisco, London, 1977, xxiii + 280 pp., (review)

The appendix of (Truesdell 72) also appears as

A survey of approaches to irreversible thermodynamics is in

  • Ivan Vavruch, Conceptual problems of modern irreversible thermodynamics, Chem. Listy 96 (2002) (pdf)

with a review of rational thermodynamics in section 3.

Last revised on August 29, 2014 at 10:16:11. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.