Register to reply

Calculate most probable energy from Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energy

by TehDarkArchon
Tags: distribution, energy, maxwellboltzmann, probable
Share this thread:
TehDarkArchon
#1
Sep10-11, 02:56 PM
P: 18
1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
If the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energy is f(E)=2*pi*E1/2*(1/pi*k*T)3/2*eE/kT. Can you calculate the most probable energy from this? (The answer is kt/2).


2. Relevant equations
Some kind of integration (guassian integral) is needed from 0 to infinity I believe.


3. The attempt at a solution
I tried integration by parts and some other methods with no luck. My teacher made it clear that this is not a gamma function (my initial thought since the E1/2 is paired with an exponential function) and that the answer is relatively easy. Any help would be much appreciated!
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on Phys.org
Climate change increases risk of crop slowdown in next 20 years
Researcher part of team studying ways to better predict intensity of hurricanes
New molecule puts scientists a step closer to understanding hydrogen storage
BruceW
#2
Sep11-11, 08:54 AM
HW Helper
BruceW's Avatar
P: 3,440
Wikipedia says that it is a gamma distribution...
Also, shouldn't it be e-E/kT?
TehDarkArchon
#3
Sep11-11, 09:33 AM
P: 18
It is supposed to be e^-E/kT, sorry about that. Unfortunately he made it clear that it's not a gamma function...and integration by parts only causes that term to be 1/2(E)^1/2 and just ends up being more complicated. We have discussed transformation of variables and guassian integrals in class, so perhaps that's the way to go about this problem (I'm still getting used to both of these as I've never done them before this class, thus probably why I'm struggling so much.)

vela
#4
Sep11-11, 12:35 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 11,673
Calculate most probable energy from Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energy

You don't need to integrate at all. You're thinking of the average value, or expectation value, of energy. The problem is asking for the most probable energy.
TehDarkArchon
#5
Sep11-11, 02:19 PM
P: 18
Okay that makes sense...I was going off my teacher's example of how to calculate most probable velocity from the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Any hint on what kind of calculation I need to do to get most probable energy? I'm probably gonna feel incredibly stupid once I figure it out...
vela
#6
Sep11-11, 02:25 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 11,673
What does the phrase "most probable" translate to mathematically in terms of f(E)?
BruceW
#7
Sep11-11, 03:33 PM
HW Helper
BruceW's Avatar
P: 3,440
Think about the curve of f(E) against E.
TehDarkArchon
#8
Sep11-11, 04:12 PM
P: 18
f(E) is just a function of E, with the most probable energy being the energy that most of the molecules have in the system, so should I just compute the value to infinity?
vela
#9
Sep11-11, 04:19 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 11,673
No. What does f(E) represent?
jfy4
#10
Sep11-11, 04:53 PM
jfy4's Avatar
P: 647
I know we already have some people helping but, think "optimization problems"...
BruceW
#11
Sep11-11, 05:41 PM
HW Helper
BruceW's Avatar
P: 3,440
Yep, jfy4 has the right idea.
Another hint: If you had the graph of f(E) against E, you could simply see by looking at it what the most probable energy was.
TehDarkArchon
#12
Sep11-11, 10:57 PM
P: 18
Ahh I think I see how to get it now. Basically Emp is the maximum of f(E) so you'd go about this problem how you would any graph to find the maximum, by setting the derivative to 0. By setting all of the constants equal to Q, canceling Q and the exponential function on both sides, i made [itex]\frac{1}{2\sqrt{E}}[/itex] = [itex]\frac{\sqrt{E}}{kT}[/itex]. With some rearrangement I get kT = 2E, or kt/2 = E.
jfy4
#13
Sep11-11, 11:04 PM
jfy4's Avatar
P: 647
well done.
TehDarkArchon
#14
Sep11-11, 11:51 PM
P: 18
Thanks very much everyone for your help! I appreciate it so much!


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Average Energy of Boltzmann Distribution Advanced Physics Homework 7
Help with Maxwell-Boltzmann Energy Distribution stuff Advanced Physics Homework 1
The Boltzmann distribution of uniformly spaced energy levels General Engineering 2
Boltzmann distribution vs. Distribution of energy General Physics 4
Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution General Physics 1