Chapter 10: Time-Dependent Phenomena

Thermodynamics is about equilibrium time-independent phenomena. Even though thermodynamic processes are important, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics do not say anything about the time dependence of these processes. These processes are analyzed by considering quasi-static processes where systems go from one equilibrium state to another and time is irrelevant.

However, even in equilibrium there are time dependent quantities such as the mean squared displacement of a particle from its original position and the velocity autocorrelation function. In addition, we can study near equilibrium processes such as the thermal conductivity for which there is a temperature gradient and the viscosity when there is a velocity gradient in the system.

Molecular dynamics simulations are useful for studying these time-dependent phenomena.


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