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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 5 (2006) pp 311-316

About Kings, Chessboards, and Diffusion Phenomena

Gabriel Ybarra

Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial, CC 157, B1650WAB San Martín, Argentina, gabriel@inti.gov.ar
Received March 10, 2006. Accepted July 31, 2006.

Published online: 1 October 2006

Abstract. In this paper, the diffusion process is illustrated with the example of a chess king moving at random on a chessboard. The displacement of the king can be easily analyzed because both the geometry of the chessboard and the king’s movements are well defined. In addition to the usual mathematical analysis of binomial and normal distributions for the random trajectories, very simple algorithms are introduced to follow the possible random trajectories and, in that sense, the stated problem might be a suitable introduction to computer simulations. The variety of concepts and tools employed to analyze this problem make it an agreeable and didactic exercise for undergraduate students of a physical chemistry course.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; diffusion

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: gabriel@inti.gov.ar)

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Issue date: October 1, 2006

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