# Velocity distribution of atoms

1. Mar 21, 2012

### Niles

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Hi

If I have a gas of atoms confined to a (3D) box, then the probability of an atom having a speed (vx, vy, vz) is given by the Maxwell distribution. Say I now make a hole in the box, such that the atoms can "fly" out of it (see attached picture). Would I still be able to describe the components by a Maxwell distribution?

Best,
Niles.

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2. Mar 21, 2012

### Niles

I would say that it is still given by a Maxwell distribution, but something about this I can't quite understand: When I plot the distribution, the probability of having a negative velocity is zero. So after choosing a coordinate system, how would I ever be able to get a negative velocity?

Best,
Niles.