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Thermodynamics - fundamentals and applications


Programme (detailed contents):

Fundamental concepts (concept of systems, evolution of a system, mathematical tools in thermodynamics, ideal gas model). Work and heat. The first law of thermodynamics and the internal energy function. The enthalpy function and the steady-state systems. Thermodynamic functions changes during reactions. Physical equilibria for a pure substance (Gibbs function, phases diagram, real fluids). Thermodynamic machines (enthalpy and entropy diagram, power plants, refrigeration units and heat pumps).




-  E-learning platform containing the slides of the lectures, the content of the practicals and self-assessment questionnaires on each chapter

-  Lectures focusing on the basics;

-  Tutorials illustrating and applying the concepts presented during lectures and promoting dialogue between learners and trainers;

-  Written framework consisting of problems with partial answers guiding the individual work of students;

-  Practicals.



Main difficulties for students:

Related to the specificity of thermodynamics. It is an essentially inductive and deductive science; it takes time and needs a regular work to be assimilated.


At the end of this module, students should have understood and be ableto explain :
- the inductive approach, specific to thermodynamics, which is to generalize, by
defining them as laws, the conditions for energy conservation and evolution of
- the significance, the relevance and the application domains of the main thermodynamic
functions (internal energy, enthalpy, entropy and Gibbs function).
Students should be able to:
- identify the system under study and to establish, for this system, routinely and
systematically, the material balance, the energy balance and the balance of entropy ;
- use and interpret the enthalpy diagram and the entropy diagram of real fluids ;
- apply thermodynamics to the understanding and description of phase equilibria for
a pure substance;
- explain the operation of thermodynamic machines (power plants, refrigeration unit,
heat pump), based on the two laws of thermodynamics and on phase equilibria.

Needed prerequisite

Concept of function of several variables and partial derivatives.

Form of assessment

The evaluation of outcome prior learning is made as a continuous training during the semester. According ot the teaching, the assessment will be different: as a written exam, an oral exam, a record, a written report, peers review...

Additional information

Concept of function of several variables and partial derivatives.



Axiomatic thermodynamics. First law. Second law. Enthalpy balance. Entropy balance. Thermodynamic function changes during reactions. Enthalpy diagram. Power plants. Refrigeration units. Heat pumps.