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Separation Process Engineering: Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, Third Edition by Phillip C. Wankat

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15.7 Maxwell-Stefan Model of Diffusion and Mass Transfer

In 1868, 12 years after Fick’s definitive publication of his theory, James Clerk Maxwell published a paper on a different approach to studying the diffusivity of gases. In 1871 Josef Stefan extended Maxwell’s theory and anticipated multicomponent effects (Cussler, 2009). Although the Maxwell-Stefan theory has had many strong adherents in the more than 140 years since its development, it always seems to be playing catch-up to the earlier Fickian theory. Three perceived difficulties have prevented wider acceptance of the Maxwell-Stefan theory. First, the Fickian model is well-entrenched in textbooks and diffusivity data collections, and it works well for many binary systems. Second, the ...

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