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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 9 Issue 6 (2004) pp 353-355

Kinetic Energy is Important in the Nanoscale World

Frank Rioux

Department of Chemistry, College of St. Benedict & St. Johnís University, St. Joseph, MN 56374,
Received July 12, 2004. Accepted September 16, 2004.

Published online: 28 October 2004

Abstract. Many explanations of atomic and molecular phenomena found in textbooks are expressed in terms of potential-energy-only models. Inclusion of kinetic energy in the analysis is generally considered to be unnecessary or irrelevant. This view is of questionable validity, and it is becoming increasing clear that ignoring kinetic energy at the nanoscopic level can lead to facile but incorrect explanations of atomic and molecular behavior.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; quantum mechanics

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Issue date: December 1, 2004

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