The maximum particle kinetic energy that can be extracted from an initial six-dimensional phase space distribution motivates the concept of free or available energy. The free energy depends on the allowed operations that can be performed. A key concept underlying the theoretical treatment of plasmas is the Gardner free energy, where the exchange of the contents of equal phase volumes is allowed. A second free energy concept is the diffusive free energy, in which the contents of volumes are instead averaged. For any finite discretization of phase space, the diffusive free energy is known to be less than the Gardner free energy. However, despite the apparent fundamental differences between these free energies, it is demonstrated here that the Gardner free energy may be recovered from the continuous limit of the diffusive free energy, leading to the surprise that macroscopic phase-space conservation can be achieved by ostensibly entropy-producing microscopic operations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics