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Basic thermodynamics: Classical and Statistical Approaches

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune and NPTEL via Swayam


In this course, we will now find out the reason for changes in matters (Chemical Principles II). The earlier course, Chemical Principles I, deals with the matter itself, and the understanding of it comes from quantum mechanics. However, for the change of matter, thermodynamics says the final word. The most critical quantity in thermodynamics is the entropy, and this course is all about understanding entropy and related thermodynamic potentials. Although classical thermodynamics was developed from observations and heuristic understanding, statistical thermodynamics provides a microscopic basis of it. In this course, a holistic approach covering three different approaches (classical, statistical, and postulate-based) of thermodynamics will be covered. The objective of this course is demystification the enigma of entropy.INTENDED AUDIENCE :First-year undergraduates of B.Sc. in Chemistry. Some of the concepts are helpful for M.Sc. students in physical chemistry and doctoral students who would need to refresh their concepts of thermodynamics.PRE-REQUISITES :It requires 12th standard mathematics. It requires the knowledge of calculus (differentiation) and basic probability.INDUSTRY SUPPORT : This course will be helpful for all students across disciplines because of its fundamental nature.


Week 1: Thermodynamics everywhere; historical development of thermodynamics; Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics and concept of temperature;
Week 2: Discussion on internal energy heat and work; First Law of Thermodynamics
Week 3: State function and path function; calculation of p-V work
Week 4: Heat capacities; Joule & Joule-Thomson expansion; Some practice problems; thermochemistry
Week 5: Second Law of thermodynamics (various statements and their equivalence); Carnot cycle; definition of entropy
Week 6: Heat engines and their efficiencies; practice problems on the classical second law
Week 7: Statistical Formulation of the Second Law (probability overview; Boltzmann formula, distribution of energy)
Week 8: Statistical formulation of the Second Law continued (the most probable distribution, Boltzmann distribution)Week 9: Calculation of entropy for various processes using Boltzmann entropy formulaWeek 10:Fundamental equation and entropy postulates;introduction to free energies
Week 11: Maxwell Relations and conversion of thermodynamic derivatives
Week 12: Applications of free energy

Taught by

Prof. Arnab Mukherjee



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