I understand that a microstate is one possible distribution of energies that make up the system's total energy. But I cant understand why, in a monatomic gas for example (where there is only translational kinetic energy of atoms), there is a finite number of states. Surely that would mean that the atoms can only travel at discrete velocities (ie discrete kinetic energys).(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

If the atoms in a gas are moving all about and accelerating and decelerating

how can that be?

Can someone point me towards a good (web) reference.

Cheers.

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**

Dismiss Notice

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Microstates - statistical mechanics

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**