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A system is said to be in a transient state when a process variable has been changed and the system has not yet reached steady-state. (Transient effect).
When a chemical reactor is being brought into operation, the concentrations, temperatures, species compositions, and reaction rates are changing with time until operation reaches it nominal process variables.
When a switch is flipped in an appropriate electrical circuit containing a capacitor or inductor, the component draws out the resulting change in voltage or current (respectively), causing the system to take a substantial amount of time to reach a new steady state.
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