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5.62 Physical Chemistry II
Spring 2008
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5.62 Spring 2008
Lecture #28
Page 1
Kinetic Theory of Gases:
MaxwellBoltzmann Distribution
“Collision Theory” was invented by Maxwell (1831  1879) and Boltzmann (1844
 1906) in the mid to late 19th century. Viciously attacked until ~19001910, when
Einstein and others showed (1910) that it explained many new experiments.
It is key to
describing collisions in dilute gases which kinetic theory relates to transport properties
such as diffusion and viscosity. Collision Theory provides an alternative to standard
Statistical Mechanics for the computation of thermodynamic quantities.
In Statistical Mechanics, we make simplifying assumptions about energy levels,
degeneracies, and interparticle interactions in order to compute Q(N,V,T).
In Collision Theory, we start with the MaxwellBoltzmann velocity distribution
for a gas, then compute everything from Newton’s Laws.
Stosszahl ansatz
:
each
collision is independent of previous events. Get a classical mechanical picture for the
properties of gases:
* pressure
* transport (mean free path, thermal conductivity, diffusion, viscosity, electrical
conductivity)
* reactions.
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 Spring '07
 TimothyF.Jamison
 Physical chemistry, pH, Kinetic theory

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