What is Thermodynamics?:
Specifically, thermodynamics focuses largely on how a heat transfer is related to various energy changes within a physical system undergoing a thermodynamic process. Such processes usually result in work being done by the system and are guided by the laws of thermodynamics.
Basic Concepts of Heat Transfer:
- Thermal Contact is when two substances can affect each other's temperature.
- Thermal Equilibrium is when two substances in thermal contact no longer transfer heat.
- Thermal Expansion takes place when a substance expands in volume as it gains heat. Thermal contraction also exists.
- Conduction is when heat flows through a heated solid.
- Convection is when heated particles transfer heat to another substance, such as cooking something in boiling water.
- Radiation is when heat is transferred through electromagnetic waves, such as from the sun.
- Insulation is when a low-conducting material is used to prevent heat transfer.
There are several specific types of thermodynamic processes that have special properties:
States of Matter:
The 5 states of matter
C = delta-Q / delta-TThe heat capacity of a substance indicates the ease with which a substance heats up. A good thermal conductor would have a low heat capacity, indicating that a small amount of energy causes a large temperature change. A good thermal insulator would have a large heat capacity, indicating that much energy transfer is needed for a temperature change.
Ideal Gas Equations:
Boyle's Law (T is constant):R is the ideal gas constant, R = 8.3145 J/mol*K. For a given amount of matter, therefore, nR is constant, which gives the Ideal Gas Law.
P1V1 = P2V2
Charles/Gay-Lussac Law (P is constant):
V1/T1 = V2/T2
Ideal Gas Law:
P1V1/T1 = P2V2/T2 = nR
Laws of Thermodynamics:
- Zeroeth Law of Thermodynamics - Two systems each in thermal equilibrium with a third system are in thermal equilibrium to each other.
- First Law of Thermodynamics - The change in the energy of a system is the amount of energy added to the system minus the energy spent doing work.
- Second Law of Thermodynamics - It is impossible for a process to have as its sole result the transfer of heat from a cooler body to a hotter one.
- Third Law of Thermodynamics - It is impossible to reduce any system to absolute zero in a finite series of operations. This means that a perfectly efficient heat engine cannot be created.
The Second Law & Entropy:
In any closed system, the entropy of the system will either remain constant or increase.By "closed system" it means that every part of the process is included when calculating the entropy of the system.
More About Thermodynamics:
That having been said, there are some fields use thermodynamics in passing as they go about studying other phenomena, while there are a wide range of fields which focus heavily on the thermodynamics situations involved. Here are some of the sub-fields of thermodynamics:
- Cryophysics / Cryogenics / Low Temperature Physics - the study of physical properties in low temperature situations, far below temperatures experienced on even the coldest regions of the Earth. An example of this is the study of superfluids.
- Fluid Dynamics / Fluid Mechanics - the study of the physical properties of "fluids," specifically defined in this case to be liquids and gases.
- High Pressure Physics - the study of physics in extremely high pressure systems, generally related to fluid dynamics.
- Meteorology / Weather Physics - the physics of the weather, pressure systems in the atmosphere, etc.
- Plasma Physics - the study of matter in the plasma state.