Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE PHY1193

 
TITLE Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory

 
LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 4

 
DEPARTMENT Physics

 
DESCRIPTION This study-unit constitutes an introductory course to the topics of thermodynamics and kinetic theory with primarily focus on the phenomenological aspects. In the case of thermodynamics the following topics will be discussed:
- The microscale and macroscale views of nature Thermodynamic equilibrium;
- The zeroth, first, second and third laws of thermodynamics;
- Temperature scales;
- The equation of state of hydrostatic systems;
- Entropy;
- TdS equations;
- Thermodynamic potentials;
- GibbsHelmholtz equations;
- Maxwell’s relations;
- Phase transitions;
- Clausius-Clapeyron equation;
- Planck’s hypothesis.

Regarding kinetic theory, the following topics will be discussed:
- Molecular flux;
- The ideal gas equation of state;
- Degrees of freedom;
- Equipartition of energy;
- The classical theory of specific heat capacity;
- Intermolecular forces leading and the van der Waals equation of state;
- The mean free path.

Study-unit Aims:

The objective of the study-unit is to provide an introduction to the phenomenological aspects of thermodynamics and kinetic theory together with the relevant macroscopic mathematical description. The intent is to teach the student how to apply the thermodynamic equations and principles to thermodynamics systems, with particular emphasis on the ideal gas. More specifically the study unit aims to provide:

- A review of the microscale and macroscale views of nature, with reference to thermodynamics and kinetic theory the definition of thermodynamic equilibrium (thermal, chemical and mechanical);
- The relation between thermodynamic equilibrium and the zeroth law of thermodynamics;
- A description of the constant volume gas thermometer the definition of a temperature scale including the ideal gas (empirical) temperature scale;
- A review of simple thermodynamic systems including soap film, electric cell, paramagnetic substance and hydrostatic system a review of the equation of state of hydrostatic systems including those of ideal gas and van der Waals gas;
- An explanation of what a thermodynamic processes is with reference to reversible and irreversible processes;
- An explanation of how to calculate the work done for different thermodynamics systems;
- A discussion on the distinction between exact and inexact differentials;
- The statement of the first law of thermodynamics and its use;
- A discussion on cyclic thermodynamic processes;
- The statement of the second law of thermodynamics and its equivalent statements of the law (proof of equivalence not required);
- The definition of the absolute (thermodynamic) temperature scale;
- An introduction to the concept of entropy;
- An introduction to the TdS equations;
- A discussion of Joule coefficient and Joule Thomson coefficient;
- A comparison between ideal (empirical) and absolute (thermodynamic) temperature scales;
- An introduction to thermodynamic potentials, Gibbs Helmholtz equations, Maxwell’s relations, multivariable systems, stable and unstable equilibrium, phase transitions and Clausius Clapeyron equation;
- A discussion on Nerst’s results and theorem;
- A discussion of Planck’s hypothesis;
- The statement of the third law of thermodynamics and its applications;
- A discussion of the theory of paramagnetic solids;
- The listing of the basic assumptions in kinetic theory;
- The definition and use of molecular flux;
- A description of the ideal gas equation of state;
- A discussion on degrees of freedom;
- A discussion of the concept of equipartition of energy;
- A discussion of the classical theory of specific heat capacity;
- A discussion of the intermolecular forces leading to derivation of the van der Waals equation of state;
- A discussion of the mean free path.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- explain the differences between the microscale and macroscale views;
- define thermodynamic equilibrium;
- relate thermodynamic equilibrium and the zeroth law of thermodynamics;
- describe the constant volume gas thermometer;
- define a temperature scale;
- distinguish between reversible and irreversible thermodynamic processes;
- distinguish between exact and inexact differentials;
- discuss the thermodynamics processed involved in heat engines and refrigerators;
- describe the Carnot cycle;
- define the absolute (thermodynamic) temperature scale;
- explain what is meant by entropy;
- define the Joule coefficient and the Joule-Thomson coefficient;
- distinguish between empirical and thermodynamic temperature scales;
- explain what is meant by thermodynamic potentials;
- distinguish between stable and unstable equilibrium;
- explain what is meant by phase transition;
- explain the implications of Nerst’s theorem;
- state and explain Planck’s hypothesis;
- list the basic assumptions of kinetic theory;
- state the equation of state of an ideal gas;
- derive the equation of state of a van der Waals gas.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- use the thermodynamic equilibrium and the zeroth law of thermodynamics to solve problems;
- analyse simple thermodynamic systems;
- state and use the equation of state of an ideal gas and of a van der Waals gas;
- calculate the work done by or on different thermodynamics systems;
- state and use the first law of thermodynamics;
- approximate cyclic processes by a sequence of Carnot cycles;
- state and use the second law of thermodynamics;
- quantify the entropy of a given system;
- state and use the TdS equations;
- state and use the Gibbs-Helmholtz equations and Maxwell’s relations;
- state and use Clausius-Clapeyron equation;
- state and use the third law of thermodynamics;
- solve problems involving paramagnetic solids;
- calculate the molecular flux;
- determine the number of degrees of freedom of a system;
- use the equipartition of energy to relate the kinetic energy to the temperature;
- solve problems involving the specific heat capacity;
- calculate the mean free path.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Recommended textbooks:

- F W Sears and G L Salinger, Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory and Statistical Thermodynamics, Addison-Wesley
- M W Zemansky, Heat and Thermodynamics: An Intermediate Textbook, McGraw Hill

Supplementary Reading:

- S B Cahn, G D Mahan, M Dresden and B E Nadgorny, A Guide to Physics Problems - Part 2: Thermodynamics, Statistical Physics and Quantum Mechanics. Springer. ISBN-13: 978-0306452918.
- The Physics Coaching Class, University of Science and Technology of China (Compiler) and Yung-Kuo Lim (Editor), Problems and Solutions on Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (Major American Universities Ph.D. Qualifying Questions and Solutions). World Scientific Publishing Company. ISBN-13: 978-9810200565.

 
ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite qualifications: Follows from: An advanced level in Mathematics; an intermediate level of physics; Mathematics for Physicists 1

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Noel Aquilina

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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