1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Degrees of freedom for a metal crystal

  1. Mar 31, 2012 #1
    Recently did an exercise calculating the theoretic heat capacity of a metal. In the solutions manual they put the degrees of freedom f=6. Why is that? I know that a rigid body has 6 degrees of freedom but does that apply to each atom in the crystal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    The atoms of the crystal are free to vibrate around their equilibrium points instead of translation. 3 vibration modes belong to each atom.
    A vibration mode has two degrees of freedom, (position and velocity): the atoms have both kinetic and potential energy. So the degrees of freedom is 6 for each atom.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook