This review article places in perspective the new work devoted both to the analysis of the thermodynamic irreversibility of heat and mass transfer components and systems and to the design of these devices on the basis of entropy generation minimization. The review focuses on the fundamental mechanisms responsible for the generation of entropy in heat and fluid flow and on the design tradeoff of balancing the heat transfer irreversibility against the fluid flow irreversibility. Applications are selected from the fields of heat exchanger design, thermal energy storage, and mass exchanger design. This article provides a comprehensive, up-to-date review of second-daw analyses published in the heat and mass transfer literature during the last decade. © 1987.