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Boltzmann Distribution

  • Thread starter Berko
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  • #1
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Homework Statement



Compute the mean energy and mean square energy of a free particle using the Boltzmann distribution.

Homework Equations





The Attempt at a Solution



I calculated the mean energy to be 3/2 kT by computing the mean square velocity directly from the Boltmann distribution function and then multiplying it by 1/2 m and then again multiplying by 3 to get the answer in three dimensions.

However, I cannot figure out how to compute the mean square energy as E^2 is proportional v^4 and computing it in one dimension does not allow me to simply multiply by 3 to get the answer in 3 dimensions.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I just tried <E^2> = <(Ex+Ey+Ez)^2> = 9<Ex^2> since <Ex>=<Ey>=<Ez> and each of the three components are independent of the others.

My result was <E^2> = 27/8 k^2 T^2.

Does this make sense?
 
Last edited:
  • #4
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No. Why 9 and not 3 ?


Cross terms. (x+y+z)^2 = x^2+y^2+z^2 +2xz +2xy +2yz
 
  • #5
dextercioby
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Hmm, you're right. Your answer should be fine then.
 
  • #6
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Well, I just recalculated.

<E^2> = <(x+y+z)^2> = <x^2+y^2+z^2+2xy+2xz+2yz> = 3<x^2> + 6<x><x> = 3<x^2> + 6<x>^2

where I used x for Ex and so on.

So, now my answer for <E^2> is 21/8 k^2 T^2
 

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