Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Chaos Observed For The First Time

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
A researcher has created the first experimental observation of molecular chaos, providing evidence that a widely accepted, yet unproven, assumption is indeed accurate. Molecular chaos is an assumption that the velocities of colliding particles are uncorrelated and independent of position. An example of molecular chaos is the air in any room. While the nitrogen and oxygen atoms are flying around with some average square speed because of the temperature in the room, they are not related, so the air does not spontaneously fly off in one direction of the room without some sort of external pressure change, like a window opening.

Still image from a movie made of the molecular chaos experiment.
Credit: G. W. Baxter and J. S. Olafsen

A Baylor University researcher has created the first experimental observation of molecular chaos, providing evidence that a widely accepted, yet unproven, assumption is indeed accurate.

Related Articles


Molecular chaos is an assumption that the velocities of colliding particles are uncorrelated and independent of position. An example of molecular chaos is the air in any room. While the nitrogen and oxygen atoms are flying around with some average square speed because of the temperature in the room, they are not related, so the air does not spontaneously fly off in one direction of the room without some sort of external pressure change, like a window opening.

The molecular chaos assumption, which is part of the kinetic theory of gases, is widely thought to be true because everything else that arises and follows from that assumption works so well. However, it has been nearly impossible to prove the assumption, until now.

“It was very exciting when we first happened upon the observation,” said Dr. Jeffrey Olafsen, associate professor of physics at Baylor and a lead investigator on the project. “Prior observations have been made in computer simulations, but this is the first time it has been measured in an experimental system.”

Olafsen, in collaboration with Dr. G. William Baxter, associate professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University – Erie, constructed two “gases,” or layers, of ball bearings. In the layer where molecular chaos held, researchers measured Maxwell Boltzmann statistics, like those that predict the mean square speed of particles in the air in the room. In the layer where the assumption of molecular chaos failed, the statistics did not obey Maxwell Boltzmann statistics. Perhaps the most interesting part, researchers said, is that the two “gases” were in contact with each other while simultaneously demonstrating their respective behavior.

“The two layers can be thought of as two gases simultaneously in thermal contact, and yet, one of the gases demonstrates molecular chaos while the other does not,” Olafsen said. “It means that the particulars of how energy is injected and distributed within the two gases is important to understanding when a system will demonstrate molecular chaos.”

Olafsen said the results also are beneficial to building a fundamental thermodynamics for systems driven far from equilibrium.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Molecular Chaos Observed For The First Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727212344.htm>.
Baylor University. (2007, July 31). Molecular Chaos Observed For The First Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727212344.htm
Baylor University. "Molecular Chaos Observed For The First Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727212344.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins