Technology Evolution, from the Constructal Law

Journal Article

The constructal law of design evolution is the law of physics that expresses the natural tendency of all flow systems, bio and nonbio, to morph into configurations that provide greater flow access over time. River basins, animal locomotion and migratory routes, snowflakes, and turbulence structure illustrate this tendency of design occurrence and evolution over time. The movement and persistence of human life on the landscape (people, goods, construction, and mining) also evolves in accord with the constructal law. Each of us belongs to the "human and machine" species, the evolving design that is better known as technology evolution. In this chapter, I illustrate the technology evolution phenomenon by showing that larger flow components (organs) belong on larger vehicles and animals and that the time arrow of the constructal law points toward smaller sizes over time (miniaturization). This evolutionary direction is further illustrated by the evolution of cooling technology for high-density heat transfer, from natural convection to forced convection and pure conduction, Fourier and non-Fourier. Tree-shaped flow architectures emerged from the same constructal-law tendency when the flow connects one point with an infinity of points (area and volume). At bottom, all technology evolution is about facilitating the movement of the human and machine species on the world's map. This is why the more advanced groups consume proportionally more fuel and why both wealth and fuel consumption continue to rise naturally. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bejan, A

Published Date

  • December 2, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 /

Start / End Page

  • 183 - 207

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0065-2717

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/B978-0-12-407819-2.00003-7

Citation Source

  • Scopus