• anonymous
Write 6 – 8 sentences to describe the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of the kinetic energy of particles. Include a description of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution graph shown below.
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • chestercat
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  • anonymous
@matt101 @MrNood @JoannaBlackwelder anyone help?
  • matt101
I can't give you the entire answer but I can explain generally what the diagram is showing. You should be able to write an answer in your own words using the information below! A Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution plots the probability (which you can think of as the number) that a specific particle in your sample will be traveling at the corresponding speed. It indirectly shows the kinetic energy of the particles in your sample, and therefore the temperature of the sample. Remember, temperature is just the average kinetic energy of all the particles in your sample. Say you have a cup of water. All the water molecules in that cup will be moving around, some faster than others. But if the water is pretty cold (low temperature), there isn't much energy to go around. That means particles ON AVERAGE will be traveling more slowly, so the probability of finding a particle at a relatively low speed is high, but as you move away from this speed, your probability drops off. If you heat up the water (high temperature), you add more energy into the mix. This additional energy is distributed amongst the particles, allowing more of them to move faster. The average speed will go up (shifting the peak you see on the graph to the right), but there are now more possible speeds the particles may be traveling at (some might have picked up a lot of energy and are traveling REALLY fast, while others hardly got any and are still traveling quite slow). This is why the size of the peak has decreased - the particles simply have more speed options with this additional energy, so they aren't as confined to the average speed as they might be at a lower temperature. Hope that clears things up!

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