A scientific constant represented by the letter k and used in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Its approximate value is
k = 1.38 * 10-23 J/K.

There is a thermodynamic principle that when a system can take on a number of configurations, the probability of a particular configuration is proportional to e^(-E/kT), where E is the internal energy of the configuration and T is the absolute temperature.

Boltzmann's constant also turns up in these two important physical equations:

  • S = k log W (S is entropy, and W is the number of possible configurations of a system)
  • PV = NkT. This equation describes the behaviour of an ideal gas. P is the pressure, V is the volume and N is the number of molecules.

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