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Application of Maxwell Boltzmann velocity distribution to nanoscale systems

  1. May 1, 2012 #1
    Dear All
    I have a question about the validity of Maxwell Boltzmann velocity distribution in the case of nanoscale systems.

    When you consider a nanoscale system such as flow of water molecules (less than 100 molecules) through a carbon nanotube or graphene sheet, is it possible to expect a maxwell distribution for the water molecules?

    or in other words

    When the actual size of the system is much lesser than the thermodynamic limit (less than 1000 molecules), is it possible to obtain a maxwell velocity distribution for the molecules?

    Thanking you

  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2012 #2
    Those are two different questions. Answers:
    1) No, you would not expect a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.
    2) Yes, it can obtain that distribution (translation: an ideal Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution can be approached by a system below the thermodynamic limit).
    1) It's below the thermodynamic limit.
    2) You can still have thermal equilibrium.
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