Problem: Suppose that helium atoms in a sealed container all start with the same speed of 2.74x104 cm/s. The atoms then collide with one another until the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is established. What is the temperature of the gas at equilibrium?

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We're being asked to calculate the temperature of the gas at equilibrium.


When He atoms reach equilibrium, they will reach a root-mean-square speed. Recall that at μrms is the speed of a molecule whose kinetic energy is equal to the average (mean) kinetic energy of all the molecules.

Assuming that there is no heat exchange between the gas and its surroundings, we can use the μrms equation:

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Suppose that helium atoms in a sealed container all start with the same speed of 2.74x104 cm/s. The atoms then collide with one another until the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is established. What is the temperature of the gas at equilibrium?

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Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Root Mean Square Speed concept. You can view video lessons to learn Root Mean Square Speed. Or if you need more Root Mean Square Speed practice, you can also practice Root Mean Square Speed practice problems.