equipartition of energy

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The theory, proposed by Ludwig Boltzmann and given some theoretical support by James Clerk Maxwell, that the energy of gas molecules in a large sample under thermal equilibrium is equally divided among their available degrees of freedom, the average energy for each degree of freedom being kT/2, where k is the Boltzmann constant and T is the thermodynamic temperature. The proposition is not generally true if quantum considerations are important, but is frequently a good approximation.

Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.

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