Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The thermodynamics of irreversible processes is applied to systems with internal degrees of freedom. By introducing an internal configuration space and assuming continuous motion therein, the second principle of thermodynamics can be stated in the following way: the entropy creation per unit volume of the internal configuration space is essentially positive definite. Explicit evaluation of this entropy creation then at once leads to differential equations of diffusion type for the motion in configuration space. For ideally dilute systems, these equations reduce to generalized FokkerPlanck equations. As a consequence of Onsager reciprocal relations i't is shown that the phenomenological friction tensor in configuration space must be symmetric. The formalism thus obtained can be applied to a great variety of irreversible phenomena related to internal degrees of freedom. Finally some very simple applications are discussed as an illustration. © 1953.