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Why rotational degree of freedom for an atom is zero please explain through an example and diagram.

Why rotational degree of freedom for an atom is zero please explain through an example and diagram. 

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1 Answers

Shivansh
askIITians Faculty 267 Points
2 years ago
In principle the degrees of freedom (dof). of a molecule is the sum of the dof of each atom. That is because we can describe the motion of the molecule as a whole as the sum of the motion of all the atoms - vibration, translation, rotation.

So where a molecule with two atoms might need 6 numbers to describe the velocity of the two atoms (x, y and z for each atom) we can instead think of it as the velocity of the center of mass, plus three numbers needed to describe the relative motion of the atoms: one to describe their relative distance (vibration), and two to describe how they move in the plane perpendicular to the axis (which you can describe as two rotations about axes perpendicular to the axis of the molecule).

A monoatomic molecule will hence have no relative rotational motion with other molecules. Hence the dof for rotation is zero

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