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File:Thermally Agitated Molecule.gif

Thermally_Agitated_Molecule.gif(280 × 280 pixels, file size: 158 KB, MIME type: image/gif, looped, 28 frames, 1.1 s)



Shown here is the thermal motion of a segment of protein alpha helix. Molecules have various internal vibrational and rotational degrees of freedom. This is because molecules are complex objects; they are a population of atoms that can move about within a molecule in different ways. This makes molecules distinct from the noble gases such as helium and argon, which are monatomic (consisting of individual atoms). Heat energy is stored in molecules’ internal motions which gives them an internal temperature. Even though these motions are called “internal,” the external portions of molecules still move—rather like the jiggling of a water balloon.

Date 18 October 2006
Author en:User:Greg L


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