Conditions for Thermodynamic Equilibrium
The system is said to be in thermodynamic equilibrium if the conditions for following three equilibrium is satisfied:
1) Mechanical equilibrium
2) Chemical equilibrium
3) Thermal equilibrium
1) Mechanical equilibrium: When there are no unbalanced forces within the system and between the system and the surrounding, the system is said to be under mechanical equilibrium. The system is also said to be in mechanical equilibrium when the pressure throughout the system and between the system and surrounding is same. Whenever some unbalance forces exist within the system, they will get neutralized to attain the condition of equilibrium. Two systems are said to be in mechanical equilibrium with each other when their pressures are same.
2) Chemical equilibrium: The system is said to be in chemical equilibrium when there are no chemical reactions going on within the system or there is no transfer of matter from one part of the system to other due to diffusion. Two systems are said to be in chemical equilibrium with each other when their chemical potentials are same.
3) Thermal equilibrium: When the system is in mechanical and chemical equilibrium and there is no spontaneous change in any of its properties, the system is said to be in thermal equilibrium. When the temperature of the system is uniform and not changing throughout the system and also in the surroundings, the system is said to be thermal equilibrium. Two systems are said to be thermal equilibrium with each other if their temperatures are same.
For the system to be thermodynamic equilibrium it is necessary that it should be under mechanical, chemical and thermal equilibrium. If any one of the above condition are not fulfilled, the system is said to be in non-equilibrium.
>>>Next: Part-2 of this article: What is Thermodynamic Equilibrium: Part-2: Causes of Non-Equilibruim of the System