1(Of a state of equilibrium) stable provided it is subjected to no more than small disturbances.
- A local minimum near the transition state in the free energy profile suggests metastable states that are populated with a very low probability at equilibrium.
- This disappearance of a metastable state is precisely what happens at a ‘spinodal point’ in equilibrium statistical physics.
- In this mode the upper level is pumped up before the lower level has had time to empty and, consequently, there is no room in the lower levels for the metastable states to decay to.
1.1(Of a substance or particle) theoretically unstable but so long-lived as to be stable for practical purposes.
- In van der Waals' theory, the spinodals are the turning points in the loops of the phase diagram where a metastable liquid or gas becomes unstable.
- A plasma is an ionised gas containing ions, metastable species, radicals, neutrals and electromagnetic radiation.
- Transformation of the monolayers involves a kinetic transition to a metastable state, analogous to the kinetic formation of metastable liquids.
- Example sentences
- A useful term to describe this is metastability: immune networks provide evidence for an ongoing process of individuation, itself a more or less chaotic process.
- The metastability is with respect to solid-liquid coexistence, that is, the solutions are supersaturated.
- To our knowledge, this is the first theoretical prediction of the metastability of the stalk itself.
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