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Internal Energy
All matter is composed of atoms and molecules that are in constant and random motion. Each molecule may have a variety of different types of energies, including but not limited to vibrational energy, translation kinetic energy and rotational kinetic energy. If we want to determine the total energy of a certain system, we need to sum up all the energies of all the molecules inside that system. This sum of energies is commonly known as internal energy (or thermal energy) of the system. Although calculating the internal energy of the system can be very complicated, we can make things easier if we make several assumptions. Suppose that we are looking at a system composed of ideal monatomic gas molecules (each molecule is composed of a single gas atom). Then the only type of energy that we have to take into consideration is the translational kinetic energy of the molecules. As shown in the lecture, for such a case, we can derive an equation that gives us the internal energy of the system.
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