We recognize some universal features of macroscopic dynamics describing the approach of a well-established level of description (that is, successfully tested by experimental observations) to equilibrium. The universal features are collected in a general equation for the nonequilibrium reversible-irreversible coupling (abbreviated as GENERIC). In this paper we formulate a GENERIC, derive properties of its solutions, and discuss their physical interpretation. The relation of the GENERIC with thermodynamics is most clearly displayed in a formulation that uses contact structures. The GENERIC is also discussed in the presence of noise. In applications we either search for new governing equations expressing our insight into a particular complex fluid or take well-established governing equations and cast them into the form of a GENERIC. In the former case we obtain the governing equations as particular realizations of the GENERIC structure; in the latter case we justify the universality of the GENERIC and derive some properties of solutions. Both types of applications are discussed mainly in the following paper [Phys. Rev. E 56, 6633 (1997)].
- Received 18 December 1996
- Revised 6 August 1997
- Published in the issue dated December 1997
© 1997 The American Physical Society