From Simplicity to Complexity

Metabolism The process of converting material inputs to material outputs by the “labor” of material “worker” agents.
Repair The manufacture (or material replacement) of the “worker” agents from material inputs

The most simple diagram representing a process would be agent c converting input a to output b.

This is represented as c:a->b.

Red letters are used to indicate when a substance is acting as an agent that manufactures or converts other substances.  Black letters are used to indicate reactants or products.  A product can later be used as an agent.  If so, then it will be subsequently shown red.

 

 What if c is very expensive or hard to find or maintain?

If it is possible to find another agent d that can convert b into c, then the following diagram can be formed where a and d come from the environment and b and c are manufactured within the system.

What if d is also very expensive or hard to find or maintain?

If it happens that b (from within the system) can convert c into d, then the system can replace all of its manufacturing agents.

In such a system, it would be possible, if desired, to tap b or c as products released to the environment along with d.

In this case it would not be possible, though, to limit the reaction chambers to the reactions indicated.

For example, in the chamber c:a->b, b would start to operate on c to manufacture d. Then d would start to operate on b to manufacture c.

There is not enough separation between these processes to maintain dedicated reaction chambers.

Next we will look at larger systems with additional reaction chambers.

 

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