Boltzmann constant

the ratio of the universal gas constant to Avogadro's number, equal to 1.3803 × 10-16 erg per degree C. Symbol: k
Also, Boltzmann's constant.
[1905-10; after L. BOLTZMANN]

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Ratio of the universal gas constant (see gas laws) to Avogadro's number.

It has a value of 1.380662 × 10-23 joules per kelvin. Named after Ludwig Boltzmann, it is a fundamental constant of physics, occurring in nearly every statistical formulation of both classical and quantum physics.

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      (symbol k), a fundamental constant of physics occurring in nearly every statistical formulation of both classical and quantum physics. The constant is named after Ludwig Boltzmann (Boltzmann, Ludwig Eduard), a 19th-century Austrian physicist, who substantially contributed to the foundation and development of statistical mechanics, a branch of theoretical physics. Having dimensions of energy per degree of temperature, the Boltzmann constant has a value of 1.380650 × 10−23 joule per kelvin (K), or 1.380650 × 10−16 erg per kelvin.

      The physical significance of k is that it provides a measure of the amount of energy (i.e., heat) corresponding to the random thermal motions of the molecules of a substance. For a classical system at equilibrium at temperature T, the average energy per degree of freedom is kT/2. In the simplest example of a gas consisting of N noninteracting atoms, each atom has three translational degrees of freedom (it can move in the x-, y-, or z-directions), and so the total thermal energy of the gas is 3NkT/2.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Boltzmann constant — Physics. the ratio of the universal gas constant to Avogadro s number, equal to 1.3803 × 10 16 erg per degree C. Symbol: k Also, Boltzmann s constant. [1905 10; after L. BOLTZMANN] * * * Boltzmann constant /bōltsˈmən konˈstənt/ (physics) noun The …   Useful english dictionary

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