A system is in thermodynamic equilibrium if the temperature and pressure at all points are same ; there should be no velocity gradient ; the chemical equilibrium is also necessary. Systems under temperature and pressure equilibrium but not under chemical equilibrium are sometimes said to be in metastable equilibrium conditions. It is only under thermodynamic equilibrium conditions that the properties of a system can be fixed.
Thus for attaining a state of thermodynamic equilibrium the following three types of equilibrium states must be achieved :
1. Thermal equilibrium
The temperature of the system does not change with time and has same value at all points of the system.
2. Mechanical equilibrium
There are no unbalanced forces within the system or between the surroundings. The pressure in the system is same at all points and does not change with respect to time.
3. Chemical equilibrium
No chemical reaction takes place in the system and the chemical composition which is same throughout the system does not vary with time.