Impact of Gibbs’ and Duhem’s approaches to thermodynamics on the development of chemical thermodynamics. (English) Zbl 1464.01007

The paper provides detailed analysis of the thermodynamical work of Josiah Gibbs and Pierre Duhem. Particular emphasis is placed on the elements relevant for chemical thermodynamics. Gibbs is characterized as being essentially concerned with thermal equilibrium. Duhem is characterized as more interested in dynamical processes, attempting to subsume thermodynamics and analytical mechanics under a more general theory of dynamics. The paper continues with a multi-faceted discussion of how Gibbs’s (and to some extent also Duhem’s) work was slowly adopted by chemists. While Gibbs’s work is identified as more influential in the development of chemical thermodynamics (as witnessed by the prominence of Gibbs’s chemical potentials and the relative insignificance of Duhem’s thermodynamic potential), the influence of Duhem’s more general framework in other fields, in particular continuum mechanics is emphasized.


01A55 History of mathematics in the 19th century
80-03 History of classical thermodynamics

Biographic References:

Gibbs, Josiah Willard; Duhem, Pierre
Full Text: DOI


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