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Stealing the GoldA celebration of the pioneering physics of Sam Edwards$
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Paul Goldbart, Nigel Goldenfeld, and David Sherrington

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198528531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528531.001.0001

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Stealing the Gold

S. F. Edwards

R. B. S. Oakeshott

Oxford University Press

There is increasing interest in applying the methods of statistical mechanics and of transport theory to systems which are neither atomistic, nor in equilibrium, but which still fulfill a remaining tenet of statistical physics which is that systems can be completely defined by a very small number of parameters and can be constructed in a reproducible way. Powders fall into this category. This chapter sets up a framework for describing the state of the powder, basing the development on anologies with statistical mechanics. It is argued that powders have an entropy, but it will be the volume which plays the role of the energy in normal statistical mechanics: the energy corresponding to the powder's thermal temperature of 300 K is negligible. In statistical mechanics, the most fundamental entry is via the microcanonical ensemble. This is a closed system, contained in a volume V, which is assumed to take up all configurations subject to the Hamiltonian function taking the value E with equal probability.

Keywords:   entropy, statistical mechanics, transport theory, powders, energy

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