Shockwaves, time reversibility, bit reversibility, Lyapunov instability
Strong shockwaves generate entropy quickly and locally. The Newton-Hamilton equations of motion, which underly the dynamics, are perfectly time-reversible. How do they generate the irreversible shock entropy? What are the symptoms of this irreversibility? We investigate these questions using Levesque and Verlet’s bit-reversible algorithm. In this way we can generate an entirely imaginary past consistent with the irreversibility observed in the present. We use Runge-Kutta integration to analyze the local Lyapunov instability of nearby “satellite” trajectories. From the forward and backward processes we identify those particles most intimately connected with the irreversibility described by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Despite the perfect time symmetry of the particle trajectories, the fully-converged vectors associated with the largest Lyapunov exponents, forward and backward in time, are qualitatively different. The vectors display a time-symmetry breaking equivalent to Time’s Arrow. That is, in autonomous Hamiltonian shockwaves the largest local Lyapunov exponents, forward and backward in time, are quite different.