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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On the work distribution for the adiabatic compression of a dilute classical gas


We consider the adiabatic and quasi-static compression of a dilute classical gas, confined in a piston and initially equilibrated with a heat bath. We find that the work performed during this process is described statistically by a gamma distribution. We use this result to show that the model satisfies the non-equilibrium work and fluctuation theorems, but not the fluctation-dissipation relation. We discuss the rare but dominant realizations that contribute most to the exponential average of the work, and relate our results to potentially universal work distributions.

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