Sat March 01, 2008 By:

Kinetic Theory-- Degrees of freedom

Expert Reply
Wed May 07, 2008

each molecule has 3 degrees of freedom( as it has 3 translational degrees; it can move along x, y and z direction) in a mono atomic gas.

In a di atomic gas there are 5 degrees of freedom. 3 are translational and 2 are rotational. but only 2 are rotational as it can only rotate about axis perpendicular to the line joining the two atoms)

In tri atomic gas there are 6 degrees of freedom.

A degree of freedom is each independent way in which the molecule can store energy.

Ex-An ant moving in a straight line has one degree of freedom.A bee capable of flying has 3degrees of freedom.

Different ways of visualizing the six degrees of freedom of a dumbbell-shaped diatomic molecule. (CM: center of mass of the system, T: translational motion, R: rotational motion, V: vibrational motion.)

According to the law of equipartition of energy an energy of 1/2kT is associated with each degree of freedom. So if a molecule has more degrees of freedom it has higher average kinetic energy.

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