A law describing the distribution of speeds among the molecules of a gas. In a system consisting of N molecules that are independent of each other except that they exchange energy on collision, it is clearly impossible to say what velocity any particular molecule will have. However, statistical statements regarding certain functions of the molecules were worked out by James Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann. One form of their law states that n=Nexp(–E/RT), where n is the number of molecules with energy in excess of E, T is the thermodynamic temperature, and R is the gas constant.
Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.