Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 16 - Think and Discuss: 87

Answer

You disagree with your friend. On average, hydrogen molecules move faster than nitrogen molecules at the same temperature.

Work Step by Step

They are mixed, which means they have the same temperature. This means they have the same average translational kinetic energy per molecule. $KE = \frac{1}{2} mv^{2}$. The mass m of a hydrogen molecule is much less than that of a nitrogen molecule, so the speed v must be greater to have the same average kinetic energy.
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