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ERIC Number: EJ817501
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Thermodynamic Entropy and the Accessible States of Some Simple Systems
Sands, David
European Journal of Physics, v29 n1 p129-135 Jan 2008
Comparison of the thermodynamic entropy with Boltzmann's principle shows that under conditions of constant volume the total number of arrangements in a simple thermodynamic system with temperature-independent constant-volume heat capacity, C, is T[superscript C/k]. A physical interpretation of this function is given for three such systems: an ideal monatomic gas, an ideal gas of diatomic molecules with rotational motion and a solid in the Dulong-Petit limit of high temperature. T[superscript 1/2] emerges as a natural measure of the number of accessible states for a single particle in one dimension. Extension to N particles in three dimensions leads to T[superscript C/k] as the total number of possible arrangements or microstates. The different microstates of the system are thus shown "a posteriori" to be equally probable, with probability T[superscript -C/k], which implies that for the purposes of counting states the particles are distinguishable. The most probable energy state of the system is determined by the degeneracy of the microstates. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A