Thermal Physics I module (PH32009)

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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 


This module is available on following courses: