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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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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793 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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1answer
458 views

Principle of Caratheodory and The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Background Constantin Carathéodory formulated thermodynamics on a purely mathematical axiomatic foundation. His statement of the second law is known as the Principle of Carathéodory, which may be ...
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652 views

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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520 views

Thermodynamically reversed black holes, firewalls, Casimir effect, null energy condition violations

Scott Aaronson asked a very deep question at Hawking radiation and reversibility about what happens if black hole evolution is reversed thermodynamically. Most of the commenters missed his point ...
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Efficiency of Stirling engine and Carnot's theorem

I want to calculate the efficiency of this Stirling cycle for an ideal gas $pV = nRT$ The mechanical work is $$ \Delta W_{12} = - \int_{V_1}^{V_2} p(V) \mathrm{d}V = -nRT_2 \ln \frac{V_2}{V_1}\\ ...
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How is this process not quasi-static yet reversible?

Consider a (adiabatic) canister with a piston containing some gas kept in a vacuum. There are two weights on the canister which equalize the pressure of the gas on the piston. Assume the system is at ...
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Why do reversible processes not increase the entropy of the universe infinitesimally?

The book Commonly Asked Questions in Thermodynamics states: When we refer to the passage of the system through a sequence of internal equilibrium states without the establishment of equilibrium ...
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120 views

How can dynamics be reversible if inflation-style baby universe spawning is allowed?

I just finished readying Sean Carroll's book, "From Eternity to Here", and have a question about reversibility and inflation: Assume inflation allows random quantum fluctuations to produce high ...
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164 views

Is there any scientific evidence that demonstrates why time passes?

Is there any scientific evidence that demonstrates why time passes? Or is it just an opened question?
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561 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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1answer
231 views

Why must allowable physical laws have reversibility?

I'm watching Susskind's video lectures and he says in the first lecture on classical mechanics that for a physical law to be allowable in classical mechanics it must be reversible, in the sense that ...
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259 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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297 views

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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2answers
115 views

Heuristics for definitions of open and closed quantum dynamics

I've been reading some of the literature on "open quantum systems" and it looks like the following physical interpretations are made: Reversible dynamics of a closed quantum system are represented ...
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211 views

Why is adiabatic process isentropic?

I have read that adiabatic process is isentropic because there is no heat exchange in an adiabatic process and thus no change in entropy. But my question is - Even in adiabatic process, work can be ...
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866 views

Why is it that a Carnot heat engine will reject no heat to a zero temperature sink?

Looking at the equation for Carnot efficiency, I notice that as the temperature of the heat sink approaches zero, the efficiency approaches unity: $$ \eta_{rev} = 1 - \frac{0}{T_H} = 1 $$ Seeing ...
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273 views

Definition of Entropy in thermodynamics

In most textbooks, the definition of entropy in reversible processes on a system $S$ is given simply as $$d S=\delta Q/T.$$ It seems to me this definition is insufficient since it does not specify ...
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766 views

Why is the maximum work achieved in reversible processes?

Let us consider an ideal gas. Let it be present initially in a state $(p_1,v_1,t_1)$. Now let it be driven to another state $(p_2,v_2,t_2)$. Why is it so that during this process the maximum work can ...
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272 views

Irreversibility and the Fermi golden rule

When a quantum system is perturbatively coupled to a continuum of states, one uses the Fermi's golden rule to compute the rate of transition form an initial state to a set of states contained in an ...
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447 views

About Boltzmann H-theorem

What is the assumption for Boltzmann H-theorem? One can derive it just from the unitarity of quantum mechanics, so this should be generally true, does it imply a closed system will always thermalize ...
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152 views

What is the connection between the non-reversibility of the decay of unstable nuclei (as Uranium, Plutonium) and the 2nd principle of thermodynamics?

The 2nd principle of the thermodynamics says that if a system (e.g. an ideal gas) is left undisturbed, its number of microscopic states only increases. This is a statement of irreversibility of the ...
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440 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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132 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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1answer
328 views

Hysteresis and dissipation

Hysteretic phenomena are often linked to dissipation. When there is an hysteresis loop, the dissipated energy can usually be computed as the area of the cycle. For example, in ferromagnetic ...
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Are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?

If my understanding is correct, neither reversible nor adiabatic processes are necessarily isentropic. But are reversible adiabatic processes always isentropic?
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464 views

Why can we say that $\bar{d}Q=TdS$?

When we introduce entropy we do this by saying that: $$\bar{d}Q=TdS.$$ Now I was wondering why this should be true? I know that by looking at a Carnot cycle, we do get this relation for reversible ...
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686 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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2answers
126 views

Does positron-electron annihilation preserve enough info to reverse exactly

An electron-positron annihilation can produce a pair of gamma rays. In the reverse process, known as pair production, can the gamma rays carry enough information to determine the resulting ...
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1answer
76 views

Reversible gates

Is it possible to make any gate reversible merely by retaining the input bits in the output and introducing ancilla bits as necessary? That is, given an irreversible gate with $k$ inputs and $l$ ...
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1answer
64 views

Is there an alternative metric for isentropic efficiency that remains valid when broken up into multiple segments?

Say that we have an irreversible expansion process which extracts energy, like a turbine. Isentropic efficiency is commonly defined by the following relation, which applies in a similar fashion for ...
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88 views

Entropy of loops in the PV plane

The change in entropy of the Carnot and reversible cycles is said to be 0. Several other loops are supposed to have a non-negative change in entropy. This presents 2 problems which I cannot ...
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3answers
160 views

Do algorithms have an intrinsic time direction?

This article says There is no intrinsic time direction in Newton's mechanics nor in the differential equations of the new physics. My question is, do other types of mathematics, say a cellular ...
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1answer
62 views

Significance of Reversible and Irreversible Process

I would like to ask the following questions: What is the significance of reversible and irreversible nature of thermodynamic process? (I understand that reversible processes are quasi-static, ...
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99 views

Why can't irreversible process be reversed by infinitesimal steps?

Irreversible process is the one in which the system undergoes rapid change from initial state to the final state. Now, if I want to reverse the state of the system, why can't be it possible? I know ...
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1answer
61 views

Reversibility in classical mechanics

I am watching Susskind's 'Theoretical Minimum' videos. At one point in his course on classical mechanics (2nd video if I remember correctly) he affirms that Netwon's second law of motion makes ...
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1answer
43 views

Unitarity of a transformation, and reversibility, imply one another?

Are these concepts equivalent? And if not, which one implies the other one? A transformation $\hat U$ is unitary when $\hat U^{-1} = \hat U^{\dagger}$. A reversible transformation $\hat A$ admits an ...
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1answer
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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? ...
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440 views

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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111 views

How irreversible processes are possible?

Susskind says that all laws of mechanics are reversible and any valid mechanic law most be reversible: you can always determine the previous state of any physically valid system. However, the simplest ...
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1answer
76 views

assumption of molecular chaos and the Loschmidt paradox

The assumption of molecular chaos says the velocities of two colliding particles are uncorrelated and also independent of time. Boltzmann actually used this assumption in his formulation of the ...
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1answer
306 views

Do reversible processes exist in Nature?

Classical thermodynamics always discusses entropy in the light of reversible processes, and it lies at the heart of the definition of entropy. But do these reversible processes exist in Nature, or are ...
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1answer
14 views

How can a reversible adiabatic expansion not increase entropy?

In the second stage of the Carnot cycle, a gas is thermally insulated and allowed to expand and do work on the piston. I understand the reason people give is that because entropy is $\,dS = \,dQ/T$ ...
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1answer
49 views

Internal reversibility

The concept of reversibility always gives me a hard time.In a reversible process the change of entropy is zero. On the other hand for irreversible process it is not.But there comes another topic which ...
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1answer
106 views

Definition of Entropy for reversible and irreversible process

$\int \dfrac{\delta Q}{T}$ can't be used to calculate entropy of an irreversible process. If you happen to know heat supplied and temperature at which it is supplied for just an instant. Can you then ...
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1answer
148 views

Efficiency of reversible engines

I'm a little confused about something. All reversible engines have the same efficiency, or one could drive the other to move more heat in the reverse direction. Also, no engine has an efficiency ...
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Generalized Onsager Relation

The usual Onsager reciprocity relations states the first order kinetic coefficients form a symmetric matrix. Are there any such relations (from time reversal symmetry) for higher order kinetic ...
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0answers
16 views

What happens to magnetic $B$-field in a superconductor in the Bean model?

In the Bean model, as we start applying a magnetic field $H$ in the plane of a slab, the $B$-field inside the superconductor decreases linearly from each side, and at a sufficiently high field $H^{*}$ ...
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67 views

Entropy change in an irreversible process between 2 equilibrium state

Calculating entropy change in an irreversible process between 2 states requires computing the change in entropy for any reversible process between the 2 same states, but why? If someone could provide ...
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41 views

Are reversible and irreversible processes frame dependent?

since it is all about time. If I have a look at an irreversible process from a frame where time runs really slow. is there a possibility of considering that process reversible from that frame?