The equilibrium in the universe ?

  1. is it true that all matter and everything in this universe microscopic or macroscopic have a tendency to go to an equilibrium state ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Simon Bridge

    Simon Bridge 15,261
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    Generally - yes.
    Though the word "equilibrium" may have different uses.
    Did you have a particular situation in mind?
     
  4. the professor asked us that question and we told him the same think so he gave us that problematic : he asked us about the state of protons and neutrons in the nucleus , we told him that they are in equilebrium, and he said but they are always in vibration and he let us like that
     
  5. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    Vibration is a bad name for the ground state of nuclei (and all stable nuclei are in their ground state). In equilibrium, the nucleons have kinetic energy. That is no problem - in a gas in equilibrium with a finite temperature, atoms are moving as well.
     
  6. I guess that's like when a man is sleeping he still breeds to keep himself alive, no matter how deep asleep you are your heart is still ticking at a minimal rate and so elementary particles do something similar I guess.
    i apologize if this is a bad analogy but maybe it would help the OP to understand better.
     
  7. Simon Bridge

    Simon Bridge 15,261
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    @dido28: I guess your professor wanted you to think the different types of equilibrium.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_types_of_equilibrium
    Had you said something else - he'd have been able to set a different problem, apparently contradicting what you said. Notice, when I answered you, I qualified my answer.

    @Crazymechanic: personally, I try not to breed while I'm asleep - fortunately I find the act wakes me up ;)

    A man asleep is not, technically, in equilibrium ... he is aging for example. However, he tends towards some sort of equilibrium with his environment which will be achieved after he is dead.

    Probably the thermodynamic example is best here - a closed system may start out with different temperatures in different places but, over time, will settle to an equilibrium where the temperature is uniform throughout. Since the system is closed however, it still has the same total amount of energy it started out with. The individual particles of the gas are still moving (that is what "temperature" means). Thus: "equilibrium" does not imply that energy has been lost. Therefore, pointing out that some system has components in motion does not mean the system is not in equilibrium: the professor needs to find another counter-example.
     
  8. Ok Simon I was thinking more of that when we sleep we inhale , exhale air to stay alive ok not the best analogy.

    Well but then the universe even when reaching total equilibrium will still not be totally heat dead as there will be some even small but some kinetic/thermal energy left that will act as elementary particle movement?
     
  9. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    Total equilibrium would be "heat death" - everything has some kinetic energy (measured in some arbitrary reference frame), but it is completely unordered and you cannot use it in any way.
     
  10. Simon Bridge

    Simon Bridge 15,261
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    Aren't there several different models for the final fate of the Universe?
    Anyway - as far as the question post #1 is concerned - since ultimate fate of the whole Universe tends to an equilibrium of some kind it follows that everything must tend to an equilibrium ... we are witnessing the stages things go through on their journey.

    re. the bound nucleons example, then, it is fair to say the nuclei have yet to reach any final - ultimate - equilibrium ... observing something is not at equilibrium says nothing about it's tendency. (Though - observing: "everything tends to the ultimate fate of the Universe itself", may be seen as a trivial answer.)

    I think the question is now answered pretty completely, and some techniques demonstrated for handling this sort of question in the future.
     
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