metastability definition

  • noun:
    • An unstable but potentially long-lived condition of a system; for example, a supersaturated option or an excited atom.
    • the type of being metastable; particularly, in thermodynamics, equilibrium of this type, neither purely steady nor volatile, possessed by a medium under particular conditions like those which exist in the case of an under-cooled fluid.
    • the caliber of a physical system that persists in its present equilibrium when undisturbed (or only somewhat disturbed) but in a position to pass to a far more stable balance whenever adequately disturbed

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