energy, equipartition of

energy, equipartition of

Law of statistical mechanics stating that, in a system in thermal equilibrium, on average, an equal amount of energy is associated with each independent energy state. It states specifically that a system of particles in equilibrium at absolute temperature T will have an average energy of kT, where k is the Boltzmann constant, associated with each degree of freedom. For example, an atom of a gas has three degrees of freedom (its three position coordinates); therefore, it will have an average total energy of kT.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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