Theory of organization in nature: Pulsating physiological processes


Journal Article

This paper shows that thermodynamic optimization provides a common theoretical basis for the existence of the finely tuned frequencies of pulsating processes of animals. In respiration and circulation, the minimization of mechanical power consumption subject to finite contact area and mass transfer (metabolic) rate constraints also explains why frequencies decrease as the body size (M) increases. For example, it is shown that the optimal breathing and heartbeat time intervals should increase as M0.24, which is in excellent agreement with experimental data. It is also shown that the breathing and heartbeat time intervals should be of the same order of magnitude. In ejaculation, the maximization of the mechanical power transmitted to the ejected seminal fluid explains the existence of an optimal bursting time interval. The deterministic method of thermodynamic optimization predicts temporal organization in Nature, and extends thermodynamics to the field of biology. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bejan, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 2097 - 2104

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0017-9310

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0017-9310(96)00291-8

Citation Source

  • Scopus