06-1 Giovanni Gallavotti
Irreversibility time scale (59K, Latex-Revtex) Jan 3, 06
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Abstract. Entropy creation rate is introduced for a system interacting with thermostats ({\it i.e.}, in the usual language, for a system subject to internal conservative forces interacting with ``external'' thermostats via conservative forces) and a fluctuation theorem for it is proved. As an application a time scale is introduced, to be interpreted as the time over which irreversibility becomes manifest in a process leading from an initial to a final stationary state of a mechanical system in a general nonequilibrium context. The time scale is evaluated in a few examples, including the classical Joule-Thompson process (gas expansion in a vacuum).

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