# Equipartition

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**Equipartition** usually refers to the fact that

- in classical statistical mechanics each degree of freedom that appears quadratically in the energy (Hamiltonian) has an average value of , where is the thermal energy.

Thus, the thermal energy is shared equally ("equipartitioned") by all these degrees of freedom.
This is a consequence of the *equipartition theorem*, which is very simple mathematically. As an
immediate corollary, the translational energy of a molecule must equal ,
since translations are described by three degrees of freedom.

For elastic waves, **equipartition** refers to the fact that the average potential and kinetic energies are equal (and therefore equal to half the total energy, which is thereby "equipartitioned".)