Thermal Physics PHYS 253 – Fall 2016

September – December 2016


Course notes


  • You can view the first two chapters in the text “Thermal Physics” by Finn here.  The next chapters will be posted later. 
  • Chapter 3: First law of thermodynamics from Thermal Physics by Finn is avalaible here


Lecturer: Mohamed A. Gharbi

Email: mohamed.gharbi@mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Department of Physics, Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, Office 419

Phone: 514 398 5855

Office hours: Mondays and Fridays from 02:00pm to 03:30 pm.


Teaching Assistant: Nathan Smith

Email: nathan.smith5@mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Department of Physics, Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, Office 225

Office hours: Tuesdays from 01:30 pm to 02:30 pm

Webpage: http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~smithn/#Teaching


Teaching Assistant: Ioannis Tsiares

Email: ioannis.tsiares@mail.mcgill.ca

Office: Department of Physics, Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, Office 306

Office hours: Mondays from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm


Course information

Scheduled Times: Monday-Wednesday-Friday, from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Location: Rutherford Physics Building 114  

Overview: Energy, work, heat; first law. Temperature, entropy; second law. Absolute zero; third law. Equilibrium, equations of state, gases, liquids, solids, magnets; phase transitions.

Text: Thermal Physics, second edition, C.B.P. Finn (You can view the first two chapters here). You can find some sellers here.  We sent a request to the bookstore to order the book!

Supplemental text: Thermal Physics , Michael Sprackling / Thermodynamics for Chemists, Physicists and Engineers, Holyst and Poniewierski

Website: https://magharbi.wordpress.com/teaching/

Marking scheme: Problem sets: 15%, Mid-term 35%, Final exam 50%

Mid-term: Monday, October 17, 2016

Final exam: To be announced (TBA)

Problem sets: 5 problem sets (TBA)


Course outline: I expect to cover the material in Finn, complemented with some applications and extensions.

1- Introduction to thermodynamics: Importance of thermodynamics, Basic concepts, The zeroth law of thermodynamics, Equations of state, scales of temperature

2- Reversible processes and work: Reversible process, Bulk modulus and expansivity, work

3- The first law of thermodynamics: Heat and internal energy function, Heat capacity, Ideal gases and non ideal gases

4- The second law of thermodynamics: Carnot cycles, Efficiency of an engine, The second law of thermodynamics, Real engines

5- Entropy: The central equation of thermodynamics, Entropy of an ideal gas, Entropy and disorder, Maxwell relations, Internal Energy U, Enthalpy H, Helmholtz function F, The Gibbs function G

6- Magnetic systems

7- Change of phase: Equilibrium condition for two phases, The Clausius-Clapeyron equation for first order phase changes, Variation of G in first order transitions, Second order phase changes

8- Superconductivity and superfluidity

9- Third law of thermodynamics: Formulation of the third law, Consequences of the third law, Absolute zero


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