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What is zero point energy ? Can a gas achieve it ?Is zero point energy can only be...

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buro | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted December 28, 2010 at 2:58 PM via web

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What is zero point energy ? Can a gas achieve it ?

Is zero point energy can only be achieved by a solid or liquid ? Is there any process by which a gas can achieve it without being converted into a solid or liquid ?

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nessus | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 10, 2011 at 2:28 AM (Answer #1)

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In classical physics an ideal gas can be theoretically cooled to absolute zero when all particles come to a complete halt. Quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in particular predict that particles can never become completely motionless but always have some small amount of residual kinetic energy. This is the zero point energy. Helium has the lowest boiling point of all substances which is still above zero kelvin (absolute zero). This means that even helium is liquid at these low temperatures. The reason it doesn't remain a gas is that when cooled sufficiently Van der Waals attraction forces are enough to cause helium atoms to form the weak bonds necessary to condense into a liquid. All other gases condense at much higher temperatures.

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