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I Mechanical equilibrium of the system in gravitational field

  1. Mar 17, 2016 #1
    Consider a system contained in a very tall adiabatically isolating vessel with rigid walls initially containing a thermally heterogeneous distribution of material, left for a long time under the influence of a steady gravitational field, along its tall dimension, due to an outside body such as the earth. It will settle to a state of uniform temperature throughout, though not of uniform pressure or density.

    Pressure and density will be higher in the lower part of the vessel due to gravity. Is this system in mechanical equilibrium? I mean, we don't have macroscopic change of the pressure in the system once everything is settled down, but pressure is not spatially uniform and it depends on the height we measure it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2016 #2
  4. Mar 17, 2016 #3
    Ok but what bothers me is that pressure is not spatially uniform. Since pressure is intensive parameter, shouldn't the system in equilibrium have intensive parameters same in all points?
  5. Mar 17, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    No. Equilibrium means that the parameter doesn't change with respect to time. It can still change with respect to space.
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