- Code PHYS2020
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Research School of Physics
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Physics
- Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics
This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will also be available.
Thermal physics deals with collections of large numbers of individual particles such as the air in a balloon, water in a lake, electrons in a chunk of metal and photons emitted from the sun. Many properties of these collections are independent of atomic details: examples are the direction of heat flow, that liquids more readily boil at lower pressure, and that the maximum efficiency of an engine depends upon temperature range and not the working fluid and the set of principles that govern these generic properties is referred to as classical thermodynamics. Other properties do depend upon atomic details - the framework by which we relate the quantum behaviour of one individual particle and to properties of a collection of large number of these particles is referred to as statistical mechanics. From understanding the greenhouse effect to the blackbody radiation left over from the Big Bang, no other physical theory is used more widely through out science than thermal physics.
This course provides an introduction to classical thermodynamics, with applications in materials science & engineering and earth science, as well as statistical thermodynamics, with applications in solid state physics and astrophysics.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Identify and describe the statistical nature of concepts and laws in thermodynamics, in particular: entropy, temperature, chemical potential, free energies, partition functions.
- Use the statistical physics methods, such as Boltzmann distribution, Gibbs distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions to solve problems in some physical systems.
- Apply the concepts and principles of black-body radiation to analyze radiation phenomena in thermodynamic systems.
- Apply the concepts and laws of thermodynamics to solve problems in thermodynamic systems such as gases, heat engines and refrigerators etc.
- Analyze phase equilibrium condition and identify types of phase transitions of physical systems.
- Make connections between applications of general statistical theory in various branches of physics.
- Design, set up, and carry out experiments; analyse data recognising and accounting for errors; and compare with theoretical predictions.
- Weekly homework and/or quizzes. (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- An extended research assignment resulting in a report (via paper or video) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Laboratory work (20) [LO 2,3,4,7]
- Mid-Semester Exam (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Final exam (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:
- Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 3 hour lab session plus 2 x 2 hour workshops per week throughout the semester.
- Approximately 46 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
An Introduction to Thermal Physics, Daniel V Schroeder. Published by Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
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- Unit value:
- 6 units
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