Check us out at http://www.tutorvista.com In thermodynamics, a thermodynamic system is said to be in thermodynamic equilibrium when it is in thermal equilibrium, mechanical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and chemical equilibrium. Classical thermodynamics deals with dynamic equilibrium states. The local state of a system at thermodynamic equilibrium is determined by the values of its intensive parameters, as pressure, temperature, etc. Specifically, thermodynamic equilibrium is characterized by the minimum of a thermodynamic potential, such as the Helmholtz free energy, i.e. systems at constant temperature and volume: A = U TS; Or as the Gibbs free energy, i.e. systems at constant pressure and temperature: G = H TS. The process that leads to a thermodynamic equilibrium is called thermalization. An example of this is a system of interacting particles that is left undisturbed by outside influences. By interacting, they will share energy/momentum among themselves and reach a state where the global statistics are unchanging in time. Thermal equilibrium is achieved when two systems in thermal contact with each other cease to exchange energy by heat. If two systems are in thermal equilibrium their temperatures are the same. The word equilibrium means a state of balance. In an equilibrium state, there are no unbalanced potentials (or driving forces) with the system. A system that is in equilibrium experiences no changes when it is isolated from its surroundings. The opposite of equilibrium systems are nonequilibrium systems that are instantaneously off balance.
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