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The problem of equilibrium processes in thermodynamics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-144
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Early online date12 Aug 2017
Accepted/In press9 Jul 2017
E-pub ahead of print12 Aug 2017
PublishedMay 2018


King's Authors


It is well-known that the invocation of `equilibrium processes' in thermodynamics is oxymoronic. However, their prevalence and utility, particularly in elementary accounts, presents a problem. We consider a way in which their role can be played by sets of sequences of processes demarcated by curves carrying the property of accessibility. We also examine the vexed question of whether equilibrium processes are necessarily reversible and the
revision of this property in relation to sets of sequences of such processes.

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