metastable equilibrium

metastable equilibrium

[¦med·ə′stā·bəl ‚ē·kwə′lib·rē·əm]
(physics)
A condition in which a system returns to equilibrium after small (but not large) displacements; it may be represented by a ball resting in a small depression on top of a hill.
(physical chemistry)
A state of pseudo-equilibrium having higher free energy than the true equilibrium state.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, the state of relatively stable or metastable equilibrium is defined as the state in which a system remains for a long period of time, and any slight disturbance causing the system to deviate from the metastable state does not result in the system passing into another state.
[30] measured volume change in an epoxy during structural recovery with asymmetric plasticizer jumps, the asymmetric jumps led to the epoxy aging to a new metastable equilibrium state, however with asymmetric temperature jumps the epoxy ages approaching the same equilibrium state as the quenched epoxy.
So the bubble chambers were commanded by the beam passage and the used liquid reached a metastable equilibrium state which occurs when the pressure of the liquid was lowered adiabatically: the substance remains in the liquid state despite the vapor pressure or the boiling point temperature.
Nonetheless, a carefully determined phase diagram is still a useful representation of equilibrium, even though portions may represent metastable equilibrium. In situations where phases have been reported in the literature, but are not present on the phase diagram, the possibility of metastable equilibria should be considered.
Alterations of this metastable equilibrium are undoubtedly related with temperature changes, but mainly with variations in the relative humidity imposed by the surrounding environment.
In mechanics, this situation is usually referred to as a "metastable equilibrium".