In this work, we show that the thermodynamic phase space is naturally endowed with a non-integrable connection, defined by all of those processes that annihilate the Gibbs one-form, i.e., reversible processes. We argue that such a connection is invariant under re-scalings of the connection one-form, whilst, as a consequence of the non-integrability of the connection, its curvature is not and, therefore, neither is the associated pseudo-Riemannian geometry. We claim that this is not surprising, since these two objects are associated with irreversible processes. Moreover, we provide the explicit form in which all of the elements of the geometric structure of the thermodynamic phase space change under a re-scaling of the connection one-form. We call this transformation of the geometric structure a conformal gauge transformation. As an example, we revisit the change of the thermodynamic representation and consider the resulting change between the two metrics on the thermodynamic phase space, which induce Weinhold’s energy metric and Ruppeiner’s entropy metric. As a by-product, we obtain a proof of the well-known conformal relation between Weinhold’s and Ruppeiner’s metrics along the equilibrium directions. Finally, we find interesting properties of the almost para-contact structure and of its eigenvectors, which may be of physical interest.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited