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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Thermodynamics for Biological Systems: Classical and Statistical Aspect

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


Thermodynamics is one of the essential tools to analyze biological systems. Thus, it is essential that an undergraduate in biological engineering knows the relevant thermodynamics principles. Classical thermodynamics is suitable for analysis in the continuum domain, whereas when the number of molecules per cell is less than say 100, the principles of classical thermodynamics are invalid for that species. However, the principles of statistical thermodynamics can be used to analyze such situations, and other situations too. Therefore, this course will cover both classical and statistical aspects to provide a complete set of tools to a biological engineer to thermodynamically analyze bio-systems. Such an analysis will help in manipulation and design of bio-systems. INTENDED AUDIENCE : Any biological engineering/biological sciences student or practitionerPREREQUISITES : Undergraduate Mathematics INDUSTRY SUPPORT : Biotechnology and other industries



Week 1: Review of concepts; Additional useful thermodynamic functionsWeek 2: Additional useful thermodynamic functions (contd)Week 3: Thermodynamic properties of pure fluidsWeek 4: Thermodynamic properties of pure fluids (contd)Week 5: Thermodynamics of solutionsWeek 6: Thermodynamics of solutions (contd); Phase equilibriaWeek 7: Phase equilibria (contd); Reaction equilibriaWeek 8: Reaction equilibria (contd); ReviewWeek 9: Statistical Thermodynamics: Definition and ApplicationWeek 10: Macrostates, Microstates, Partition function, Boltzmann Distribution LawWeek 11: Partition function and thermodynamic propertiesWeek 12: Ensemble and time average; Review

Taught by

Prof. Suraishkumar G K, Prof. Sanjib Senapati

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