# 18: Partition Functions and Ideal Gases

- Page ID
- 11814

In chemistry, we are typically concerned with a collection of molecules. However, if the molecules are reasonably far apart as in the case of a dilute gas, we can approximately treat the system as an ideal gas system and ignore the intermolecular forces. The present chapter deals with systems in which intermolecular interactions are ignored. In ensemble theory, we are concerned with the ensemble probability density, i.e., the fraction of members of the ensemble possessing certain characteristics such as a total energy E, volume V, number of particles N or a given chemical potential μ and so on. The molecular partition function enables us to calculate the probability of finding a collection of molecules with a given energy in a system. The equivalence of the ensemble approach and a molecular approach may be easily realized if we treat part of the molecular system to be in equilibrium with the rest of it and consider the probability distribution of molecules in this subsystem (which is actually quite large compared to systems containing a small number of molecules of the order of tens or hundreds).

- 18.1: Translational Partition Functions of Monotonic Gases
- Since the levels are very closely spaced for translation, a large number of translational states are accessible available for occupation by the molecules of a gas. This result is very similar to the result of the classical kinetic gas theory

- 18.10: Ortho and Para Hydrogen
- The molecules of hydrogen can exist in two forms depending on the spins on the two hydrogen nuclei. If both the nuclear spins are parallel, the molecule is called ortho and if the spins are antiparallel, it is referred to as para (In disubstituted benzene, para refers to the two groups at two opposite ends, while in ortho, they are adjacent or “parallel” to each other).

- 18.11: The Equipartition Principle
- The equipartition theorem states that every degree of freedom that appears only quadratically in the total energy has an average energy of ½kT in thermal equilibrium and contributes ½k to the system's heat capacity. Here, k is the Boltzmann constant, and T is the temperature in Kelvin. The law of equipartition of energy states that each quadratic term in the classical expression for the energy contributes ½kBT to the average energy.