Adrian Bejan - Constructal Law

Adrian BejanThe constructal law is the law of physics that accounts for the phenomenon of evolution (configuration, form, design) throughout nature, inanimate flow systems and animate systems together.

The constructal law was stated by Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University, in 1996 as follows1, 2:


“For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.”


The constructal law places the concepts of life, evolution, design and performance in physics, which is in the broadest scientific arena. The constructal law is the law of physics of life and evolution3-5.

The constructal law accounts for the arrow of time6, which is the direction of the evolution of flow organization over time.

The Benjamin Franklin Medal (2018) was awarded to Adrian Bejan for thermodynamics and "constructal theory, which predicts natural design and its evolution in engineering, scientific, and social systems.”

The constructal law is receiving wide acceptance in the scientific literature. The growth of the field is documented regularly in review articles7-9, books8-21, nine international Constructal Law Conferences (most recently in Parma, Italy, 2015), and independent websites such as:

Learn more about Energy Technology and Thermodynamics research at Duke MEMS.


  1. A. Bejan, Constructal-theory network of conducting paths for cooling a heat generating volume. Int J. Heat Mass Transfer 40, 799-816 (1997) (published on 1 Nov. 1996).
  2. A. Bejan, Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics. 2nd ed. (Wiley, New York, 1997).
  3. T. Basak, The law of life: the bridge between Physics and Biology. Phys Life Rev 8, 249-252 (2011).
  4. A. Bejan, The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2016).
  5. A. Bejan and J. P. Zane, Design in Nature. How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization (Doubleday, New York, 2012).
  6. A. Bejan, Maxwell’s demons everywhere: evolving design as the arrow of time, Nature Scientific Reports, Vol. 4, No. 4017, 10 February 2014, DOI: 10.1038/srep04017.
  7. A. H. Reis, Constructal theory: from engineering to physics, and how flow systems develop shape and structure. Appl Mech Rev 59, 269-282 (2006).
  8. A. Bejan and S. Lorente, The constructal law and the evolution of design in nature. Phys Life Rev 8, 209-240 (2011).
  9. L. Chen, Progress in study on constructal theory and its applications. Science China, Technological Sciences 55 (3), 802-820 (2012).
  10. A. Bejan and G. W. Merkx, Eds, Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics (Springer, New York, 2007).
  11. A. Bejan, Shape and Structure from Engineering to Nature (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000).
  12. P. Kalason, Le Grimoire des Rois: Théorie Constructale du Changement (L’Harmattan, Paris, 2007).
  13. P. Kalason, Épistémologie Constructale du Lien Cultuel (L’Harmattan, Paris, 2007).
  14. A. Bachta, J. Dhombres and A. Kremer-Marietti, Trois Ètudes sur la Loi Constructale d’Adrian Bejan (L’Harmattan, Paris, 2008).
  15. A. Bejan and S. Lorente, Design with Constructal Theory (Wiley, Hoboken, 2008).
  16. D. Queiros-Conde and M. Feidt, Eds., Constructal Theory and Multi-scale Geometries: Theory and Applications in Energetics, Chemical Engineering and Materials (Les Presses de L’ENSTA, Paris, 2009).
  17. L. Rocha, Convection in Channels and Porous Media. Analysis, Optimization, and Constructal Design (VDM Verlag, Saarbrücken, 2009).
  18. A. Bejan, S. Lorente, A. F. Miguel and A. H. Reis, Eds, Constructal Human Dynamics, Security and Sustainability (IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2009).
  19. G. Lorenzini, S. Moretti and A. Conti, Fin Shape Optimization Using Bejan’s Constructal Theory (Morgan & Claypool Publishers, San Francisco, 2011).
  20. L. A. O. Rocha, S. Lorente and A. Bejan, Constructal Law and the Unifying Principle of Design (Springer, New York, 2012).