We propose a simple theoretical model for a molecular chemical engine that catalyzes a chemical reaction and converts the free energy released by the reaction into mechanical work. Binding and unbinding processes of reactant and product molecules to and from the engine are explicitly taken into account. The work delivered by the engine is calculated analytically for infinitely slow ("pseudo-static") processes, which can be reversible (quasi-static) or irreversible, controlled by an external agent. It is shown that the work larger than the maximum value limited by the second law of thermodynamics can be obtained in a single cycle of operation by chance, although the statistical average of the work never exceeds this limit and the maximum work is delivered if the process is reversible. The mechanism of the energy transduction is also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)