Thermodynamics 2016-17

Welcome to the homepage for Junior Honours Thermal Physics Part 1: Thermodynamics. Here you will find lecture notes, tutorial sheets, hand-in questions etc. The recommended text on which the course is based is "Thermal Physics" by Finn. There are several copies in the library. You should also use my Inverted Textbook on Thermodynamics available free online in two parts. Questions and Answers

I previously posted solutions to the hand-ins and tutorials after the fact. Unfortunately, too many people took this as a cue not to attempt the work until the solutions were available. It's a much better learning method to try the questions cold first, use the solutions to give yourself feedback on what you did wrong, then try again if there's anything you don't understand mistakes. Despite making the answers available immediately, I hope you will resist temptation to peek, and use them as feedback. Do look at the solutions eventually, as they contain commentary on what physics the question relates to, as well as checking answers.

The overheads used in lectures are not intended to make sense on their own. All necessary information is in the lecture notes, questions and solutions, and in Finn.

Thermodynamics is a fantastic and subtle subject - enjoy!

Lectures and Tutorials

Lectures (LTA, Weeks 1-10)

Mo 10h00-10h50
Th 10h00-10h50

Course involves 18 lectures, 2 demonstrations (examinable) and one for-interest lecture (non-examinable).


Week 2-11, come to one of...

Mo JCMB 5326,5327 14h10-16h00
Th JCMB 5326,5327 16h10-18h00

Please sign up for a slot at one of the workshops. In principle, the rooms are not large enough to accommodate everyone, but if there is space you are welcome to come to both. The Thursday workshop is combined with Lagrangian Dynamics, and tutors will be available to help you with either course. Prof Ackland will be at all the tutorials, available to help with the course or discuss physics more widely.

Assessments ( Hand in calendar)

There will be 4 assessed problem sheets for this part of the Thermal course (Students taking the 10 point "Thermodynamics" course only do the first 3). Assessments count as 20% of final mark.

Plagiarism and group working for assessments Thermodynamics is piloting a new scheme this year. In previous years we know that students have worked closely together on handins. This is a good way to learn. Technically, it is also plagiarism, but we never pursued it. This year there is a new approach:

1/ You may work on the hand-ins in self-organised groups of up to five. There is no obligation to do this, nor is there any constraint by degree program.

2/ If you do, you must hand in a single submission, with ALL barcodes attached.

3/ Group submission will be expected to have a higher standard of presentation (i.e. you should explain what you are doing). There is no other reduction in marks.

This approach is meant to formalise what was already happening in practice.

Assessments will be released not more than one week before the due date. This is to avoid a problem in previous years where far too much time was spent on the assessments, at the cost of the tutorial problems.

Hand-in assessments marked out of 25:

Assessment 1: Ramjet. 11am Tuesday of Week 5 (18th Oct) Indicative marking scheme, parts a-i ( 2,2,3,3,5,3,3,2,2) GENERAL FEEDBACK

Assessment 2: Steam engine 11am Tuesday of Week 8 (8th Nov) Indicative marking scheme, parts a-i ( 2,3,2,3,5,3,3,2,2) GENERAL FEEDBACK

Assessment 3:Magnetic Fridge 11am Tuesday of Week 10 (22nd Nov): Thermo Indicative marking scheme, parts a-i ( 3,2,2,3,4,2,3,4,2) GENERAL FEEDBACK

Assessment 4: Phase Transition 11am Thursday of S2 week 1.--> Indicative marking scheme, parts 1-7 (8,2,2,4,2,5,2) GENERAL FEEDBACK

  • Revision classes will be held in Semester 2.

    Lecture Notes, Tutorial Sheets and Solutions

    If you spot any errors or omissions in the lecture notes and problem sheets let me know and they will be corrected in the online version. Finalised course notes will be available shortly after the lectures: they will be very similar to last year's which are available now.

    Ongoing Commentary and Feedback

    Here I will make a note of feedback given to individual students, in those cases where it seems relevant to the whole class.

    The preferred text for the course is Finn's Thermal Physics - there are several copies in the library.

    You should attempt the tutorial problems in advance of the problems class feedback session.

    LECTURES: Will cover the foundations and proofs of thermodynamics, illustrated with examples drawn for various physics problems..

    TUTORIAL SHEETS: Will give you the chance to train your skills by practice on a series of problems.

    TUTORIALS: Give you a chance to discuss the problems you encountered in doing the tutorial sheet, and get feedback on your solutions.

    TUTORIAL SOLUTIONS: Are lengthy and contain not only the answers, but some in-depth description of what physical points the question has been designed to illustrate.

    Both lectures and tutorials will cover theory and the practical application by relating it to physical systems which are somewhat familiar. REMEMBER: The Mon/Thurs problem classes are your chance to get feedback on your work from Prof Ackland and two demonstrators I'm going to work on the assumption that anyone who doesn't come is able to do the problems without needing assistance or feedback.

    This is Prof Ackland's fourth year of teaching the course.

    Lecture Notes


    Weekly tutorials will be available here, taken from the free online ebook.
    Sheet 1: ( PDF )   Properties of materials: Mainly revision
    Sheet 2: ( PDF )   Temperature scales, work, equations of state
    Sheet 3: ( PDF )   Work and heat, the First Law, expansion processes
    Sheet 4: ( PDF )   Processes, and introduction to the Second Law
    Sheet 5: ( PDF )   Heat engines
    Sheet 6: ( PDF )   Entropy
    Sheet 7: ( PDF )   Maxwell relations and thermodynamic potentials
    Sheet 8: ( PDF )   Expansion processes again
    Sheet 9: ( PDF )   Miscellanea, and phase transitions
    Sheet 10: ( PDF )   Phase transitions and Clausius-Clapeyron

  • Problem solving is an integral part of the course and you are strongly encouraged and to work through the problems on the tutorial sheets and then to attend the class. Two postgraduate students will act as course tutors.

    Solutions to Exercises


    Examination Papers

    The "Thermal Physics" examination is at the end of SECOND semester, in a combined paper with Statistical Mechanics. Single-semester visiting students and Geosciences students have a bespoke "Thermodynamics" paper at the end of the first semester. There is a resit paper in August for those who qualify.

    Previous Examination Papers can be found via the central University Library site. This requires an Edinburgh University login. Although there will always be some rote-learnable sections, the examination questions will probe whether you understand what you've been taught, not simply whether you can remember it. The purpose of this course is to teach you some physics, not to help you pass the examination. But if you are interested in passing the examination, it is a good idea to practice with some past papers.
    2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
    There will be additional sessions prior to the examination period in which you can ask for feedback on your attempts at previous examination papers. Remember that while a tutorial problem gives you practice at testing you own understanding, an examination answer also requires you to communicate that information to another human being who marks the paper. A very instructive way to check this is to attempt a paper under exam conditions and then get a friend to mark it

    The overall mark is split between Coursework, 10% and Degree Examination, 90%

    Recommended texts:

    (1) Finn, 'Thermal Physics' ;
    (2) Adkins, 'Equilibrium Thermodynamics',
    (3) Sears and Salinger "Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics" (4) Ackland 'An inverted textbook on Thermodynamics' Questions and Answers (Online book)


    There is nothing of use in the lecture overheads which is not already contained in the notes. They are subject to random, unpredictable changes and not intended to make any sense whatsoever without the soundtrack. In short: use the notes.
    Lecture 1
    Lecture 2
    Lecture 3
    Lecture 4
    Lecture 5
    Lecture 6
    Lecture 7
    Lecture 8
    Lecture 9
    Lecture 10
    Lecture 11
    Lecture 12
    Lecture 13
    Lecture 14
    Lecture 15
    Lecture 16
    Lecture 17
    Lecture 18