Thermodynamics: A Universal Subject

Category: Syllabus 10 2

Thermodynamics: A Universal Subject

First of all, I would like to inform you that thermodynamics is a subject of Physics, it has its origins from Physics, as a stream of Science and not Engineering, although its used extensively in Engineering, be it Chemical, Mechanical or Automobile.

But before we even come close to our Main Course topic (Thermodynamics), let us understand what Energy is? Energy (for a lay person), means power, strength, Energy is always present around us, it exists everywhere be it the light or the heat coming out from an electric bulb or even a machine or vehicle. In another words Energy is the capability and the potential to do any work or to bring about a change during the work done.

Thermodynamics is a subject that specifically deals with temperature or heat and its specific relativeness with work and energy. Thus Thermodynamics is also called the study of Energy, it explains and defines other macroscopic factors such as pressure, entropy and internal energy.

It states the behaviour of all these variables, which are subjected to common materials, general constraints (these are explained in 4 laws of thermodynamics). Thermodynamics, as a subject also deals with the study, and observation of heat, work and energy on a system. It is mostly concerned with large scale observation and reporting during experiments of the above factors.

Genesis and Origins of Thermodynamics:

The history of thermodynamics can be traced to Otto Von Guericke who in the year 1650, designed and created the world’s first vacuum pump. Otto Von Guericke has discovered and invented the vacuum pump just to prove the famous historian Aristotle wrong. Aristotle was of the first of his kind to conceive the idea that the “Nature Abhors a Vacuum”.

The 4 laws of Thermodynamics:

There are 4 laws of thermodynamics that define all the fundamental attributes such as energy, temperature, heat and entropy. All these attributes characterize the thermodynamic systems and the 4 thermodynamic laws state and define how do these attributes behave and react during different situations.

The Zeroth law of Thermodynamics:

This is in fact the first law of thermodynamics, although its called the Zeroth law. This law does state that if 2 systems are in state of thermal equilibrium individually and separately with a third system, then they must be thermal equilibrium with each other. The Zeroth law assists in defying the notion of Temperature.

The First law of Thermodynamics:

This actually is the second law of thermodynamics, the 2nd law states that heat is a form of Energy, and since because energy can be conserved, the internal energy of any system will change due to the inflow and the outflow of heat from it and to it. Thus equivalently perpetual motion kinds of machines are of the first in kind that are impossible.

The Second law of Thermodynamics:

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system never decreases and such kind of systems instantly evolve in the direction of thermodynamic equilibrium, which is a state of maximum entropy of any system. Equivalently all perpetual motion machines and devices of the second kind are not impossible.

The Third law of Thermodynamics:

The third law of thermodynamics is indeed the last and the fourth law, beginning from the first. The third law of thermodynamics states and defines the entropy of any system approaches a constant value, when and as the temperature begins to approach absolute zero. With the exception of glasses the entropy of any system at absolute zero is literally close to zero and equal to the log of the multiplicity of the quantum sound grade.

Books on Thermodynamics:

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The above mentioned article was on thermodynamics, a significant topic for the study of Engineering.

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