Questions tagged [equilibrium]

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Why is the Earth so fat?

I made a naive calculation of the height of Earth's equatorial bulge and found that it should be about 10km. The true height is about 20km. My question is: why is there this discrepancy? The ...
4k views

Prove that negative absolute temperatures are actually hotter than positive absolute temperatures

Could someone provide me with a mathematical proof of why, a system with an absolute negative Kelvin temperature (such that of a spin system) is hotter than any system with a positive temperature (in ...
303 views

How are the Lagrange points determined?

According to Hyper Physics, there are 5 equilibrium, or Lagrange points of the Earth-Moon system and only 2 of them are said to represent stable equilibrium points. This made me think if there is an ...
1k views

What's the point with equilibrium in Thermodynamics?

All the Thermodynamics books I saw until now state that in Thermodynamics we are mainly concearned with equilibrium states (I know there's "non-equilibrium Thermodynamics", but I'm interested on the ...
289 views

Has the zeroth law of thermodynamics ever been proven?

Has the zeroth law of thermodynamics ever been proven? I know the zeroth law of thermodynamics probably follows from the second law of thermodynamics but according to The statistical nature of the 2nd ...
494 views

Slow thermal equilibrium

I have a question which is inspired by considering the light field coming off an incandescent lightbulb. As a blackbody radiation field, the light is in thermal equilibrium at temperature $T$, which ...
2k views

Estimate the reaction force on each leg of a 4-legged table

Assume you have a table with four legs with a weight placed somewhere inside the boundary created by the legs. The task is to determine the reaction force at each leg. Here are the problem ...
3k views

Definitions in thermodynamics: temperature, thermal equilibrium, heat

I'm currently reading Fermi's "Thermodynamics" and I'm trying to grasp the (possibly different) right definitions for temperature, thermal equilibrium, heat. To clarify, I'm looking for definitions ...
24k views

Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy?

Why does the nature always prefer low energy and maximum entropy? I've just learned electrostatics and I still have no idea why like charges repel each other. http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/...
9k views

Why can't charge be in a stable equilibrium in electrostatic field?

I am reading Feynman's Lectures volume_II where he discussed the impossibility of the presence of stable equilibrium in an electrostatic field. There are no points of stable equilibrium in any ...
2k views

How is quantum mechanics consistent with statistical mechanics?

Let's say we have an harmonic oscillator (at Temperature $T$) in a superposition of state 1 and 2: $$\Psi = \frac{\phi_1+\phi_2}{\sqrt{2}}$$ where each $\phi_i$ has energy $E_i \, .$ The probability ...
993 views

Is there always an equilibrium point in space for gravity?

For instance, for a two-body system, there will always be a point in-between the two in which the forces of gravity completely cancel, and if I were there then I would experience no net force. I ...
43k views

When a ball is tossed straight up, does it experience momentary equilibrium at top of its path?

This question has been asked many times all over the Internet and answers can be found on places such as yahoo and ask.com, but I'm not satisfied with those answers and I don't trust the validity of ...
1k views

Is thermodynamic equilibrium static or dynamic?

Suppose a system has two parts, $A$ & $B$. They were initially at different temperatures and hadn't achieved mechanical equilibrium. After attainting thermodynamic equilibrium, do they continue to ...
8k views

Why does a system try to minimize its total energy?

Why does a system like to minimize its total energy? For example, the total energy of a $H_2$ molecule is smaller than the that of two two isolated hydrogen atoms and that is why two $H$ atoms try to ...
2k views

Why is (von Neumann) entropy maximized for an ensemble in thermal equilibrium?

Consider a quantum system in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath. In determining the density operator of the system, the usual procedure is to maximize the von Neumann entropy subject to the ...
28k views

Difference between steady state and equilibrium?

In semiconductor physics, what is the difference between steady state and equilibrium. How analysis of devices varies in these processes?
19k views

Question on the hydrostatic paradox

The hydrostatic paradox, states that the height of the water in any container is independent of the shape of the container. This does make sense since it is only the height of the fluid ...
3k views

Why are excess charges in a conductor at the surface?

I’ve been told that coulomb repulsion pushes excess electrons to the surface of a conductor (i.e. sphere) electrostatic equilibrium, and this symmetry causes the net electric field inside to be zero. ...
4k views

Spikes on ferrofluid?

What exactly are the spikes, or peaks and valleys, caused by in pictures such as these Wikipedia states that "From the point of view of magnetic energy, peaks and valleys are energetically favorable",...
6k views

Why a system should be at its lowest energy state for its stability?

Every possible reaction in chemistry is to attain stability. In physics, the alignment of an electric dipole in an external electric field and in all other physical systems (at least those I study in ...
223 views

Reaction forces in pyramid stacking of steel coils

I was tasked with solving this problem at work as we are out of coil holders and we bought 140 coils and need to stack them asap. Companies that make the storage holders are on back order for several ...
3k views

Do airlocks in space decompress violently as they do in movies?

The standard scene follows: The good guys have finally captured the enemies and have them in an airlock chamber on a spaceship. A button is pressed and out they go, violently propelled by the blast of ...
345 views

Is this formula for the energy of a configuration of 3 fluids physically reasonable?

I have studied for a couple of months now a mathematical model of the energy of a configuration of immiscible fluids situated in a fixed container such that the fluids fill the container. In other ...