PHYS 17200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Diatomic Molecule

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PHYS 17200 - Modern Mechanics - Lecture 12_Internal Energy
Internal Energy
The vibrating diatomic molecule we’ve been considering consists of identical
atoms that move in opposite directions so that the molecule’s total momentum is
zero.
Since its momentum is zero, there is a sense in which the molecule “at rest”.
However, it still has kinetic energy except when the atoms are at their greatest
and smallest separations.
What we call the molecule’s vibrational energy is fundamentally the sum of this
internal kinetic energy and its potential energy.
Similarly, what we call the thermal energy of a solid is the random vibrational
energy of its molecules and, so, fundamentally internal kinetic and potential
energy.
An object of a larger mass will have greater energy than an object of a smaller
mass.
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