The term e-folding time is also sometimes used similarly in the case of exponential decay, to refer to the timescale for a quantity to decrease to 1/e of its previous value.
The process of evolving to equilibrium is often characterized by a time scale called the e-folding time, τ. This time is used for processes which evolve exponentially toward a final state (equilibrium). In other words if we examine an observable, X, associated with a system, (temperature or density for example) then after a time, τ, the initial difference between the initial value of the observable and the equilibrium value, ΔXi, will have decreased to ΔXi /e where the number e ~ 2.71828.
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