A system in a **steady state** has numerous properties that are unchanging in time. This implies that for any property *p* of the system, the partial derivative with respect to time is zero:

The concept of steady state has relevance in many fields, in particular thermodynamics, economics, and engineering. Steady state is a more general situation than dynamic equilibrium. If a system is in steady state, then the recently observed behavior of the system will continue into the future. In stochastic systems, the probabilities that various states will be repeated will remain constant.

In many systems, steady state is not achieved until some time after the system is started or initiated. This initial situation is often identified as a transient state, start-up or warm-up period.

While a dynamic equilibrium occurs when two or more reversible processes occur at the same rate, and such a system can be said to be in steady state, a system that is in steady state may not necessarily be in a state of dynamic equilibrium, because some of the processes involved are not reversible.

For example: The flow of fluid through a tube or electricity through a network could be in a steady state because there is a constant flow of fluid, or electricity. Conversely, a tank being drained or filled with fluid is a system in transient state, because its volume of fluid changes with time.

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### Famous quotes containing the words state and/or steady:

“While the system of holding people in hostage is as old as the oldest war, a fresher note is introduced when a tyrannic *state* is at war with its own subjects and may hold any citizen in hostage with no law to restrain it.”

—Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)

“To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the *steady* intention almost of the whole life to this object.”

—Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)