OCR A Level Physics

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5.3.3 The Boltzmann Constant

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The Boltzmann Constant

  • The Boltzmann constant k is used in the ideal gas equation and is defined by the equation:

The Boltzmann Constant equation 1

  • Where:
    • R = molar gas constant
    • NA = Avogadro’s constant

  • Boltzmann’s constant therefore has a value of

k equals fraction numerator 8.31 over denominator 6.02 cross times 10 to the power of 23 end fraction equals 1.38 cross times 10 to the power of negative 23 end exponent space straight J space straight K to the power of negative 1 end exponent

  • The Boltzmann constant relates the properties of microscopic particles (e.g. kinetic energy of gas molecules) to their macroscopic properties (e.g. temperature)
    • This is why the units are J K−1

  • Its value is very small because the increase in kinetic energy of a molecule is very small for every incremental increase in temperature

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