An open system is a system that continuously interacts with its surroundings. The interaction can take the form of information, energy or material transformations at the border with the system. An open system opposes an isolated system that does not exchange energy, matter or information with the environment.
The concept of an open system allowed to interconnect the theory of organisms, thermodynamics and evolutionary theory. This concept was analyzed in detail with the advent of information theory and, subsequently, systems theory. Now the concept has applications in the natural and social sciences.
The entropy of an open system can be reduced at the expense of the environment. All or almost all natural systems are open. The opposite of an open system is a closed system. The only known closed system is the entire universe or, in a theory of the world, an infinite continuum of universes. Many times, but not always, an open system strives to maintain its balance.
The concept of open system was introduced in the context of thermodynamics. Its use was later extended with the development of information theory and systems theory. Today, the concept is applied in the natural and social sciences.
In the social sciences, an open system is a process that exchanges materials, energy, people, capital and information with its surroundings.
Open thermodynamic system
In the field of thermodynamics and thermodynamic systems, the open system cannot exist in the state of equilibrium since there is an exchange of energy and matter between the system and the surroundings.
The essential contribution to the thermodynamics of open non-equilibrium systems was made by Ilya Prigogine. Prigogine and his collaborators investigated systems of substances that react chemically. The stationary states of such systems exist due to the exchange of particles and energy with the environment.
Open system in the natural sciences
In the natural sciences, an open edge system is permeable in both energy and mass. In physics; A closed system, on the other hand, is permeable to energy, but not to matter.
Open systems have a series of consequences. A closed system contains limited energies. The definition of an open system assumes that there are energy resources that cannot be depleted, in practice, this energy is supplied by a source in the surrounding environment, which can be considered infinite.
One type of open system is the so-called radiant energy system. A radiant energy system receives its energy from solar radiation. The solar energy that comes from the radiation of the Sun is a source of energy considered inexhaustible, so it is defined as a renewable energy.
Last review: January 16, 2020