2005/06 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
PHYS1041 Thermal Physics
10 creditsClass Size: 125
Module manager: Dr H K Christenson
Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable
Year running 2005/06
Pre-requisite qualificationsA-Level Physics and Mathematics or equivalent
This module is approved as an Elective
Module summaryThis module introduces Thermodynamics and Thermal Physics from both the macroscopic and microscopic (atomic) viewpoint. The ideas of the classical approach leading to the basic laws of thermo dynamics are discussed and then we probe deeper into the atomic and statistical mechanical treatments which heralded the birth of quantum theory. The concepts of temperature, heat, work and internal energy are explained, as well as kinetic theory, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecular speeds in gases and the statistical interpretation of entropy.
ObjectivesAt the end of the module you should be able to:
- calculate heat, work and internal energy changes in ideal gases, using the 1st law, for isothermal, adiabatic, isochoric and isobaric processes;
- discuss kinetic theory and the distribution of molecular speeds;
- calculate specific heats of ideal gases, explain the equipartition principle and calculate molecular degrees of freedom;
- perform calculations involving efficiency and energy exchanges in heat engines and Carnot cycles;
- evaluate entropy changes for various paths;
- describe thermal properties such as expansion, conduction and radiation;
- formulate the development of the Van der Waals equation for non-ideal gases;
- interpret one-component phase diagrams.
Problem-solving with basic logics and mathematics. Graphical illustration of physical processes and states reconciling alternative physical pictures.Problem-solving with basic logics and mathematics. Graphical illustration of physical processes and states reconciling alternative physical pictures.
State variables, thermal equilibrium and temperature, 0th law, thermometers and temperature scales, ideal and non-ideal gases.
Kinetic theory of gases, distribution of molecular speeds.
Heat capacity, phase changes and latent heat, phase diagrams, 1st law, PV-diagrams, heat capacity of ideal gases, equipartition principle, adiabatic processes.
2nd law, heat engines, the Carnot cycle, entropy and disorder.
Thermal expansion, heat transfer, thermal conductivity in solids, thermal radiation.
Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for informationLectures: 22 x 1 hour;
Tutorials: 3 x 1 hour;
Problem solving classes: 3 x 1 hour.
Private studyReading: 22 hours;
Problems and examples: 50 hours.
Opportunities for Formative Feedback3 x marked problem-solving exercises.
Methods of assessment
Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information1 x 2 hour written examination: 85%;
Marked work from problem-solving classes: 15%.
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 01/08/2007
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