Basics_of_Thermodynamics - Basics of Thermodynamics Some of...

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Basics of Thermodynamics Basics of Thermodynamics Four Laws that Drive the Universe Peter Atkins* Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007 Reading Some of the material covered here is also covered in the chapter/topic on: Equilibrium *It is impossible for me to write better than Atkins- his lucid (& humorous) writing style is truly impressive- paraphrasing may lead to loss of the beauty of his statements- hence, some parts are quoted directly from his works. MATERIALS SCIENCE MATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING ENGINEERING Anandh Subramaniam & Kantesh Balani Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur- 208016 Email: [email protected], URL: home.iitk.ac.in/~anandh AN INTRODUCTORY E-BOOK AN INTRODUCTORY E-BOOK Part of A Learner’s Guide A Learner’s Guide A Learner’s Guide A Learner’s Guide Physical Chemistry Ira N Levine Tata McGraw Hill Education Pvt. Ltd., New York (2002).
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Thermodynamics deals with stability of systems. It tells us ‘ what should happen? . ‘ Will it actually happen(?)’ is not the domain of thermodynamics and falls under the realm of kinetics. At –5 C at 1 atm pressure, ice is more stable then water. Suppose we cool water to –5 C. “Will this water freeze?” (& “how long will it take for it to freeze?”) is (are) not question(s) addressed by thermodynamics. Systems can remain in metastable state for a ‘long-time’. Window pane glass is metastable– but it may take geological time scales for it to crystallize! At room temperature and atmospheric pressure, graphite is more stable then diamond– but we may not lose the glitter of diamond practically forever! Thermodynamics versus Kinetics * The term metastable is defined in the chapter on equilibrium .
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One branch of knowledge that all engineers and scientists must have a grasp of (to some extent or the other!) is thermodynamics. In some sense thermodynamics is perhaps the ‘most abstract subject’ and a student can often find it very confusing if not ‘motivated’ strongly enough. Thermodynamics can be considered as a ‘ system level ’ science- i.e. it deals with descriptions of the whole system and not with interactions (say) at individual particles level . I.e. it deals with quantities (like T,P) averaged over a large collection of entities (like molecules, atoms)*. This implies that questions like: “What is the temperature or entropy of an atom?”; do not make sense in the context of thermodynamics (at lease in the usual way!) . TD puts before us some fundamental laws which are universal** in nature (and hence applicable to fields across disciplines). Thermodynamics (TD): perhaps the most basic science * Thermodynamics deals with spatio-temporally averaged quantities.
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