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Vibrational Energy?

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:04 pm
by ZoeHahn1J
How much does potential energy (as opposed to kinetic energy) of the atoms' positions in a molecule impact vibrational energy?

Re: Vibrational Energy?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:23 am
by Sean Monji 2B
I think the influence of potential energy (or the position) on an atom is similar to spring and pendulum physics, depending on the direction the atom is vibrating.
When the atom is vibrating towards and away from the other atoms, then it is similar to spring oscillations in physics. When the atom has no kinetic energy and is the farthest or closest position to the other atoms, all of the vibrational energy is potential energy. When the atom is at its fastest (greatest kinetic energy), it has no potential energy. If the spring is in between max and minimum speeds, then it has a combination of potential and kinetic energy.
When the atom is vibrating parallel to other atoms, it acts like a pendulum. Same logic applies as the spring in terms of total potential and kinetic energy.

Hope that makes sense.