The general formula for moment of inertia is:

I = Sigma mi * ri^2

(mi is mass of atom, ri is distance to axis of rotation)

In a diatomic molecule, the moment of inertia is

I = ma*mb(ma+mb) * R^2

(R is distance between atoms, ma and mb are masses of two atoms)

How is the diatomic molecule formula derived from the general formula? The two do not appear connected.

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  1. You can find a proof in the web page below:

    The symbols used are different but equivalent to the ones you are using. The general formula is not given explicitly but it is applied anyway.

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  2. GK, thank you so much. That was exactly what I was looking for!

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