An entropy generation metric for non-energy systems assessments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Processes in non-energy systems have not been as frequent a subject of sustainability studies based on Thermodynamics as have processes in energy systems. This paper offers insight into thermodynamic thinking devoted to selection of a sustainability energy-related metric based on entropy balancing of a non-energy system. An underlying objective in this sustainability oriented study is product quality involving thermal processing during manufacturing vs. resource utilization (say, energy). The product quality for the considered family of materials processing for manufacturing is postulated as inherently controlled by the imposed temperature non-uniformity margins. These temperature non-uniformities can be converted into a thermodynamic metric which can be related to either destruction of exergy of the available resource or, on a more fundamental level of process quality, to entropy generation inherent to the considered manufacturing system. Hence, a manufacturing system can be considered as if it were an energy system, although in the later case the system objective would be quite different. In a non-energy process, a metric may indicate the level of perfection of the process (not necessarily energy efficiency) and may be related to the sustainability footprint or, as advocated in this paper, it may be related to product quality. Controlled atmosphere brazing (CAB) of aluminum, a state-of-the-art manufacturing process involving mass production of compact heat exchangers for automotive, aerospace and process industries, has been used as an example.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-592
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Handling data presented in Fig. 5 and assistance in executing experiments presented in Figs. 3 and 4 were provided by Dr. H. Zhao of the author's Brazing and Compact Heat Exchanger Laboratory at the UK Center for Manufacturing. Author acknowledges discussions with his graduate students D. Busbaher, D. Reasor and X. Deng from Advanced Thermodynamics graduate class, who considered the problem in more depth than required for their classroom assignments. Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation funded this research in part through Grants KSEF-395-RDE-003 and KSEF-1490-RDE-010. The early version of this article was presented at the Fourth Dubrovnik Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water, and Environmental Systems, Dubrovnik, June 4–8, 2007.


  • Entropy
  • Metrics
  • Product quality
  • Sustainability
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'An entropy generation metric for non-energy systems assessments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this