Problem 15.6

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

In this animation N = nR (i.e., kB = 1). This, then, gives the ideal gas law as PV = NT.  The average values shown, < >, are calculated over intervals of one time unit so that the average rate change in momentum is equal to the pressure times the area, A (where A = 1).  Restart.  This animation shows the distribution of speeds in an ideal gas based on the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution as shown by the smooth black curve on the graph  for a given temperature:

n(v) dv/N = (2/π)1/2  (m/kBT)3/2 v2 exp(−mv2/2kBT) .

What happens to the distribution as you increase the energy (temperature)?  Since there is a speed distribution, when we talk about a characteristic speed of a gas particle at a particular temperature, we use one of three characteristic speeds:

Find an expression for each (in terms of m and kBT).  Identify which peak is which characteristic speed.