# Tagged Questions

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### compressibility of cold atoms in optical lattices

The compressibility of cold bosons in an optical lattice is defined as $\kappa = \frac{\partial \langle n\rangle}{\partial \mu}$, where $\langle n\rangle$ is the density and $\mu$ is the chemical ...
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### MIcrocanonical and Canonical - The thermodynamic limit

Considering a two level system with energies $0$ and $\epsilon$, we write out the single particle partition function with ease to be, also N-particle partition function for non-interacting ...
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### How does statistical mechanics predict that hot air rises?

Does hot air rise -- from a statistical-mechanical viewpoint Question #6329 asks whether and why hot air rises. The consensus answer is straightforward: - hot air is less dense than cold air - ...
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### Why do phase transitions even exist? Why not smooth density change curves?

Why do phase transitions even exist? Why not smooth density change curves? What properties of matter, quantum or otherwise, predicts that matter will undergo phases at different pressures and ...
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### How can entropic effects be prevalent at low temperatures?

I read in a book that at low temperature the hydrophobic effect (for example) is entropic but at high temperatures it is enthalpic. I thought that entropy should decrease at very low temperatures. ...
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### Helmholtz free energy from a relation for entropy

The Legendre transformation defines the helmholtz free energy (at least according to my lectures) as: $F(T,V,N)=E-TS$ It also says to start with $E(S,V,N)$ and $T=\frac{\partial{E}}{\partial{S}}$ ...
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### Definition of entropy in nonequilibrium states

Thermodynamical definition of entropy $$S(p)=-\int p\ln p~dx$$ is defined only on equilibrium system. But why can't we use it for non-equilibrium system? Is there a well-accepted definition for it?
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### Spontaneity / Free Energy of Non-Isothermal Process

I'm trying to determine a lower bound for the work input necessary to make an entropy-reducing process "spontaneous" in the sense that the 2nd law is not violated. For a constant temperature and ...
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### Axioms behind entropy!

The concept of entropy is very ubiquitous, we learn about its uses starting from Information Theory (Shannon entropy) up to its basic definition in statistical mechanics in terms of number of ...
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### Who invented the perfume bottle thought experiment?

A common thought experiment used to explain the second law of thermodynamics, the "arrow of time", etc. is perfume escaping from an opened perfume bottle; the perfume is likely to diffuse into the ...
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### What is entropy really?

On this site, change in entropy is defined as the amount of energy dispersed divided by the absolute temperature. But I want to know: What is the definition of entropy? Here, entropy is defined as ...
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### What materials are used in non thermal plasma?

While reading about non-thermal plasmas, I came across their ionization potentials(~1%), and other capabilities, such as their non Maxwellian energy distributions. At what temperatures, and pressures ...
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### Entropy of a two-level system

Consider a two-level system with energies and degeneracies $\epsilon_0 = 0, g_0=1$ and $\epsilon_1 = \epsilon, g_1=4$. I can show that the temperature at which both levels are equally populated is ...
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### What algorithms can be used to compute the binodal in a ternary Flory-Huggins theory?

What are the most popular algorithms used to obtain a binodal curve for the ternary mixture (starting from Flory-Huggins theory)? I would like to obtain a plot similar to the one calculated here ...
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### Temperature of a neutron star

In our everyday experience termperature is due to the motion of atoms, molecules, etc. A neutron star, where protons and electrons are fused together to form neutrons, is nothing but a huge nucleus ...
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### Which function denotes the energy of thermal motion within a system?

In thermodynamics, the heat $Q$ is defined as a type of energy in transfer, and is not a state function, which function denotes the energy of thermal motion within a system? 1) $TS$, (there is a ...
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### Why does nuclear matter tend to maximize pressure?

I'm reading a text about equations of state of dense nuclear matter. It is often stated that the phase with maximum pressure is preferred. Why is that?
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### Can statistical mechanics explain the second law completely? [duplicate]

Statistical mechanics is restricted to the postulate of the equal a priori probability, but this postulate does not need to be considered for thermodynamics, so the valid ranges of statistical ...
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### Thermal Velocity

What is thermal velocity? What is it's physical significance? Wikipedia says: The thermal velocity or thermal speed is a typical velocity of the thermal motion of particles which make up a gas, ...
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### Why is Entropy's Definition Useful?

I have somewhat of an understanding for other physical quantities, but as far as entropy goes I only know it to be "disorder". Why is the change in entropy formula an appropriate/useful definition, ...
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### Is thermodynamic free energy and potential energy the same thing?

The equation for free energy $F$ and potential energy $E_{pot}$ are: $$F=U-TS \\ E_{pot} = E_{tot} -E_{kin}$$ But the temperature $T$ is proportional to the average kinetic energy of a system. So ...
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### Ergodic Hypothesis; canonical ensemble

I'm currently studying for an exam in thermodynamics/classic statistical mechanics and 2 things came up which are confusing me. First the ergodic hypothesis states that it is equal to take the mean ...
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### What conditions do a bunch of atoms need to satisfy to have a temperature?

What conditions do a bunch of atoms need to satisfy to have a temperature? Suppose that we have a beam of helium atoms travelling in a common straight line, equally spaced with the same velocity. If ...
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### Mathematical proof of the Second Law of Thermodynamics [duplicate]

Is there some book or paper that formalizes statistical mechanics, like some people have done with relativity, and proves the second law of thermodynamics from more foundational axioms?
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### Canonical ensemble, energy, heat bath

I am studying through the book Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics by Walter Greiner and I’ve got a couple of doubts when I was reading about the classical ensembles, specially the Canonical ...
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### Problems with units of entropy in statistical thermodynamics

The statistical thermodynamics definition of entropy: $S = kN \ln (W)$ troubles me a lot with the problem of dimenstions. where $S$ is entropy; $k$, the Boltzmann constant; $N$ the number of particles ...
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### Existence of negative temperatures and the definition of entropy

How negative temperatures can be possible has been treated on StackExchange before (several times in fact), but in light of some recent academic discussion, most of these answers seem to be possibly ...
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### In what limit do we *really* get Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics from Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac?

Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein energy occupation number $n(\epsilon)$ in natural units ($[T]=[\epsilon]$) read $$n(\epsilon) = \frac{D(\epsilon)}{e^{(\epsilon-\mu)/T}\pm 1},$$ where $D(\epsilon)$ is ...
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### What's the most fundamental definition of temperature?

What's the most fundamental definition of temperature? Is it the definition concern about average energy, number of micro states, or what? By "fundamental", I mean "to be applied" in such general ...
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### Free energy a continuous function of temperature but may not be differentiable everywhere?

So according to my understanding, the free energy of the system should be a continuous function of temperature. This is because if the free energy is not continuous at temperature T, then at this ...
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### Question on entropy

All of my textbooks mention, that entropy-change of all spontaneous physical, and chemical processes is positive, and that such processes need another condition to fulfill- decrease in the net ...
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### Effusion of particles from one box to another - pressure calculation

Suppose we have a container divided into equal halves. Right half is fixed at temperature $T$, volume $\frac{V}{2}$. Initially it has pressure $P_0$, a hole of area $A$ is opened between them. I ...
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### What would be non-ergodic physics processes?

As the title says, what would be non-ergodic processes that occur in statistical physics? Many textbooks do not really cover ergodicity really well so I ask this question. I can't suddenly remember ...
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### Calculating heat capacity from the equation of state

It is known that within thermodynamics alone, given the equation of the state of a system, one cannot explicitly determine the heat capacity. What is the mathematical reason for this? Intuitively, it ...
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### Calculation of the differential of the entropy

In this review (for those who wants a precise reference see page 8 eq 21), the Author says that: \begin{equation*} S=-\sum_{i}P\left(i\right)\ln P\left(i\right) \end{equation*} and using the ...
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### Entropy is constant. How to express this equation in terms of pressure and density?

In hydrodynamics of an ideal, non-compressive flow we use 5 variables: pressure $p$, density $\rho$ and velocity field $\mathbf{v}$. So we need 5 equations. Landau's "Hydrodynamics" states that the ...
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### Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero?

Why is absolute zero considered to be asymptotical? Wouldn't regions such as massive gaps between galaxy clusters have temperatures of absolute zero? I just do not see why our model must work the way ...
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### Flory-Huggins ternary phase diagram with a neutral component

I am searching the literature for the Flory-Huggins phase diagram with the following components : polymer, solvent, and a third component that does not interact with the other components (just entropy ...
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### Homemade salad dressing separates into layers after it sits for a while. Why doesn't this violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?

The oil, vinegar and other liquids in homemade salad dressing separate into layers after sitting for a while, making the mixture become more organized as time evolves. Why doesn't this violate the ...
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### Is there an equation to calculate the average speed of liquid molecules?

I seem to remember from first year physics that we can calculate the RMS speed of a stationary, ideal gas with $v=\sqrt{\frac{3RT}{M}}$. Does a similar equation exist for liquids?
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### Chemical potential in Thermodynamics

In many scenarios, on computing the partial derivative of the internal energy (U) with respect to mole number (N) is negative. This implies that adding more moles of the substance decreases the U of ...
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### Landau free energy

I am reading the statistical mechanics by Pathria in Chap 12. I have a question about the Landau free energy. What is the physical reasoning for that the free energy could be a functional of the order ...
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### In thermodynamic systems why must the free energy of the system be minimized?

Is this somehow a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics?
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### Is there an upper limit to temperature in thermodynamics or statistical mechanics

In many presentations of statistical mechanics where we have a system of particles having mass, such as the molecules of an ideal gas, the temperature is often equated to the average relative velocity ...
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### What precisely does the 2nd law of thermo state, considering that entropy depends on how we define macrostate?

Boltzmann's definition of entropy is $\sigma = \log \Omega$, where $\Omega$ is the number of microstates consistent with a given macrostate. If I understand correctly, this means that it only makes ...
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### Quantum entaglement and the arrow of time

I have seen several claims to that quantum mechanics is required to explain the arrow of time which I take to mean the macroscopic irreversibility of physical systems. This is presumably to resolve ...
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### Chemical potential of photons [duplicate]

Why do photons have zero chemical potential and what is its the physical significance? From what I know the chemical potential could be interpreted as the energy per unit particle that is put into a ...
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### Thermodynamics, chaperones : How to model polymer fragmentation

Living polymers are well described by equilibrium statistical physics. Now I would like to consider a case were living polymers undergo fragmentation due to chaperones. I can think of a kinetic ...