Thermal physics deals with the study of the behaviour of matter at a macroscopic level, specifically in relation to temperature, heat, and energy. It encompasses a wide range of phenomena, from the thermal properties of solids, liquids, and gases, to the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and statistical mechanics.

Topics include:

Temperature and the zeroth law of thermodynamics

Heat, work, internal energy, and the first law

The Carnot cycle, the second law, and entropy

The third law

Thermodynamic potentials; derivation of thermodynamic relationships

Introduction to phase transitions

Kinetic theory of gases: the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, the virial expansion, van der Waals equation

Introduction to statistical mechanics: concept of ensembles; statistical definition of entropy; Boltzmann distribution; partition function; atomic and molecular partition functions

The quantum ideal gas: Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions