Statistical mechanics of time independent nondissipative nonequilibrium states

Stephen R. Williams*, Denis J. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    We examine the question of whether the formal expressions of equilibrium statistical mechanics can be applied to time independent nondissipative systems that are not in true thermodynamic equilibrium and are nonergodic. By assuming that the phase space may be divided into time independent, locally ergodic domains, we argue that within such domains the relative probabilities of microstates are given by the standard Boltzmann weights. In contrast to previous energy landscape treatments that have been developed specifically for the glass transition, we do not impose an a priori knowledge of the interdomain population distribution. Assuming that these domains are robust with respect to small changes in thermodynamic state variables we derive a variety of fluctuation formulas for these systems. We verify our theoretical results using molecular dynamics simulations on a model glass forming system. Nonequilibrium transient fluctuation relations are derived for the fluctuations resulting from a sudden finite change to the system's temperature or pressure and these are shown to be consistent with the simulation results. The necessary and sufficient conditions for these relations to be valid are that the domains are internally populated by Boltzmann statistics and that the domains are robust. The transient fluctuation relations thus provide an independent quantitative justification for the assumptions used in our statistical mechanical treatment of these systems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number184101
    JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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