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!

Equipartition Theorem (Thermal Physics)

  1. Jul 11, 2013 #1
    I just wanted to know whether the following formula 3/2kT=K (ave) demonstrates the average kinetic energy per atom in a monatomic gas.
    And then if 5/2kT=K (ave) demonstrates the average kinetic energy per diatomic molecule.

    This comes from the fact that the average energy per degree of freedom is 1/2kT.

    Note k(lowercase) denotes Boltzmann Constant, and K (uppercase) denotes kinetic energy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2013 #2
    Yes, you are correct. The equipartition theorem breaks down at low temperatures when the energy kT is smaller than the energy spacing in a degree of freedom. It doesn't have enough energy to make that jump, so that degree of freedom becomes frozen out.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook