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Vibrational Vs dissociation energies for diatomic molecules

  1. May 19, 2010 #1
    If a diatomic molecule's vibrational energy is increased to the dissociation energy of that molecule, will that cause the molecule to rip itself apart? Is it the change in vibrational energy that causes the molecule to dissociate?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2010 #2


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    The 'vibrational energy', like any mechanical energy, is either kinetic energy and/or potential energy, depending on where the atoms are in their period of oscillation. If the kinetic energy of the atoms moving apart exceeds the potential energy holding them together (i.e. the dissociation energy), then they fly apart.
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