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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Thermodynamics (PHYS09021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
Summary**** This course is for Visiting Students who are here for semester 1 only and students from the School of Geosciences; please ensure students are enrolled on the correct instance. Fully registered students and visiting students who are registered for the full year, please see the new course Thermal Physics (PHYS09061). Visiting students who are registered for semester two only, please see course Statistical Mechanics (PHYS09019) ****

An introduction to equilibrium thermodynamics. The First and Second laws of thermodynamics are introduced, along with the concepts of temperature, internal energy, heat, entropy and the thermodynamic potentials. Applications of thermodynamic concepts to topics such as heat engines, the expansion of gases and changes of phase are considered. The Third Law, and associated properties of entropy, complete the course.
Course description * Concepts: State variables and state functions, temperature scales and some useful mathematics.
* Reversible and irreversible processes
* Ideal and non-ideal fluids
* Cyclic processes, heat engines, Carnot's theorem and its corollaries.
* Entropy
* Maxwell relations and analytic thermodynamics
* Phase transitions: discontinuous, continuous, and non symmetry-breaking.
* The 3rd law
* The application of thermodynamics to different physical systems including examples from astrophysics and superconductivity
* Chemical potential and open systems
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physics of Fields and Matter (PHYS08046)
Students MUST have passed: Linear Algebra and Several Variable Calculus (PHYS08042) OR Algebra and Calculus (PHYS08041)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Thermal Physics (PHYS09061) OR Statistical Mechanics (PHYS09019)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 50 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework, 20%
Degree Examination, 80%
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the Zeroth, First, Second and Third Laws of thermodynamics, and use the laws of thermodynamics to solve a variety of problems, such as the expansion of gases and the efficiency of heat engines
  2. Understand all the concepts needed to state the laws of thermodynamics, such as 'thermodynamic equilibrium', 'exact' and 'inexact' differentials and 'reversible' and 'irreversible' processes.
  3. Understand the meaning and significance of state variables in general, including the entropy, the enthalpy, Helmholtz and Gibbs free energy, and be able to manipulate these variables to solve a variety of thermodynamic problems.
  4. Understand the efficiency and properties of thermodynamic cycles for heat engines, refrigerators and heat pumps.
  5. Understand the meaning of phase diagrams, and be able to construct them from equations of state.
Reading List
Finn, Thermal Physics
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Workshop/tutorial sessions, as arranged.
KeywordsThermodyn,Thermal Physics,Solids,Liquids,Gasses,Engines
Course organiserProf Wilson Poon
Tel: (0131 6)50 5297
Course secretaryMs Grace Wilson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5310
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