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This chapter is a slight diversion, and could well be omitted at a first reading. However, the study of diatomic Maxwell-CBoltzmann gases proves to be a rather interesting one. It will reinforce the ideas of energy scales, introduced in Chapter 2, and illustrate further the concept of degrees of freedom. Furthermore the rotation of molecular hydrogen (H2) gas holds a few quantum surprises. Throughout the chapter we shall assume, as is realistic, that MB statistics applies. The quantum surprises are not concerned with ‘degeneracy’, i.e. whether FD or BE corrections need be made to the statistics. Rather they are to do with the indistinguishability of the two H atoms which make up the H2 molecule.
KeywordsHeat Capacity Partition Function Electronic Excitation Rotational State Spin Part
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