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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.
     
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