We study relaxation to equilibrium of hot and dense hadron-string matter produced in the central zone of central heavy-ion collisions at energies 11.6AGeV ≤ Elab ≤ 160AGeV. Two microscopic transport models, UrQMD and QGSM, are employed. The analysis is performed for the central cubic cell with volume V = 125 fm3. To check how close the system is to the equilibrium, its hadron yields and hadron energy spectra are compared with those of the statistical model of ideal hadron gas. For all collision energies it was found that the matter in the cell was approaching the equilibrium state, which lasted about 10 - 20 fm/c. After that the matter became very dilute and the thermal contact between the hadrons was lost. Equation of state is well fitted to linear dependence P/ε = a = c2 s, where the square of the sonic velocity c2 s increases from 0.12 at Elab = 11.6 AGeV to 0.145 at Elab = 160 AGeV. These results are valid also for very early times of the system evolution when the matter is still out of equilibrium. Together with the isentropic expansion, the linear dependence of P on ε supports the application of hydrodynamic description to early stages of heavy-ion collisions.
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