Fig3_3 Maxwell Distribution of Particle Speeds

Fig3_3 Maxwell Distribution of Particle Speeds

Fig. 3.3 . The speeds of particles with the same mass and three different temperatures. The peak of this distribution shifts to higher speeds at higher temperatures. There is a small fraction of particles having high speed, residing in the high-speed tail of the distribution, and this fraction increases with temperature. The fraction of particles with low speed becomes smaller at higher temperatures but does not vanish. The peak also shifts to higher speeds at lower mass when the temperature is unchanged. The Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell (1831?1879) derived this distribution in 1873.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University