The potential for a thermodynamic process to be reversed in time. Alternatively, a quantification of how far an irreversible process is from being reversible, which relies on a comparison to a corresponding theoretical reversible process.

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Intuitively, why is a reversible process one in which the system is always at equilibrium?

A process is reversible if and only if it's always at equilibrium during the process. Why? I have heard several specific example of this, such as adding weight gradually to a piston to compress the ...
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850 views

Hawking radiation and reversibility

It's often said that, as long as the information that fell into a black hole comes out eventually in the Hawking radiation (by whatever means), pure states remain pure rather than evolving into mixed ...
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A thermodynamic transformation that can be represented by a continuous quasistatic path in its state space may still be irreversible. Why?

A thermodynamic transformation that has a path (in its state space) that lies on the surface of its equation of state (e.g., $PV=NkT$) is always reversible (right?). However, if the path is a ...
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466 views

Difference between irreversible and entropy?

Cedric Villani recently wrote an article on Landau damping, where at least one topic discussed confused me. Besides discussing the issue of how a process can be microscopically reversible and ...
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187 views

Physics without time

The structure of physical law as we generally recognize it today is firmly held together by the existence of time. Although physical laws can both predict and retrodict (reversible time does not break ...
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655 views

Is thermodynamic reversibility a function of path?

Question: given a path taken by a system through state space, is it possible to make a statement such as 'that path corresponds to an irreversible process' or 'that path corresponds to a reversible ...
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273 views

Particle sources and particle detectors in quantum field theory

I am looking for a resource that clearly exposes the concepts of a particle source and a particle detector in the context of Quantum Field theory. I want to understand Irreversibility in this context. ...
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726 views

What is the nature of the correspondence between unitary operators and reversible change?

Why does the formalism of QM represent reversible changes (eg the time evolution operator, quantum gates, etc) with unitary operators? To put it another way, can it be shown that unitary ...
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Calculation of entropy change in irreversible cycles, meaning of $\delta Q/T$ in irreversible processes

Lets take the two cycles in the pictures working with an ideal gas. We perform one, and than perform the other. The cycle is made reversible by making the gas exchange heat with a heat bath having ...
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Irreversible expansion and time reversal symmetry

Suppose there are N non-interacting classical particles in a box, so their state can be described by the $\{\mathbf{x}_i(t), \mathbf{p}_i(t) \}$. If the particles are initially at the left of the box, ...
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How slow is a reversible adiabatic expansion of an ideal gas?

A truly reversible thermodynamic process needs to be infinitesimally displaced from equilibrium at all times and therefore takes infinite time to complete. However, if I execute the process slowly, I ...
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What is the difference between reversible and irreversible adiabatic expansion?

What is the difference between reversible and irreversible adiabatic expansion? Is it true that the work done by the gas is the same but the pressure applied externally differ between two process? ...