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PH20067: Thermal physics (WL)

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Physics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX 85%, PR 15%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 85%)
  • Practical (PR 15%)

Information regarding synoptic assessment for this unit will be published shortly. In the meantime please contact the Director of Studies or consult your programme handbook for further details.

Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
PH20067B - OT reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must ( take PH10002 OR take PH10052 ) AND ( take PH10007 OR take MA10230 )
Description: Aims:
The aims of this unit are to develop a sound understanding of the concepts of classical thermodynamics and their application to physical processes and to introduce the concepts of statistical mechanics, showing how one builds from an elementary treatment based on a description of microstates to a discussion of Fermi and Bose systems.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* define and understand thermodynamic terms such as temperature, equilibrium, function of state, reversibility;
* understand and apply the 1st and 2nd laws;
* define entropy and the common thermodynamic potentials and understand their importance to phase changes;
* appreciate the need for a microscopic approach to thermal physics and demonstrate an understanding of the microstate formalism;
* derive the appropriate thermodynamic potentials from the partition function of simple models;
* calculate averages, heat capacities and other thermodynamic variables for simple models;
* describe the Fermi-Dirac, Bose-Einstein, Boltzmann and Planck distribution functions and apply them to simple models;
* conduct short experiments on various topics, record details of experimental method and results to an appropriate standard, and write a scientific report displaying an appropriate standard of structure, attention to detail and analysis.

Skills:
Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A.

Content:
Classical thermodynamics (9 hours): Basic thermodynamic concepts. The zeroth, first and second law of thermodynamics. Heat engines, thermodynamic potentials, Maxwell relations, entropy. Phase changes.
Introduction to statistical mechanics (4 hours): Microstates. Energy degeneracy. Multiparticle systems. Indistinguishability. Ensemble average. Statistical ensembles. Interacting systems. Temperature. Entropy. Chemical potential. Thermodynamic identity. Postulates and laws of thermodynamics.
Boltzmann distribution and ideal gas (3 hours): Partition function. Boltzmann distribution. Partition function for many particles. Equipartition theorem. Density of states. Particle in a box. Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Velocities of particles in a gas. Ideal monoatomic gas.
Fermi and Bose gases (6 hours): Grand-canonical distribution. Fermi gases. Fermi-Dirac distribution. Classical and Quantum statistics. Fermi energy. Fermion gas law. Bose Einstein distribution. Bose-Einstein condensation. Bose gases. Boson gas law. Experiments on atom cooling and Bose condensation. Photon gas. Phonon gas. Heat capacity of an insulating solid.
Laboratory: Performance of experiments designed further to develop practical skills and support lecture material.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PH20067 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Programmes in Natural Sciences
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Environmental Science with Physics stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Environmental Science with Physics stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Environmental Science with Physics stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Environmental Science stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Environmental Science stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Environmental Science stream) with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Biology with Physics stream) with Professional Placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Chemistry with Physics stream) with Professional Placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Biology stream) with Professional Placement (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AAM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AKM02 : MSci(Hons) Natural Sciences (Physics with Chemistry stream) with Professional Placement (Year 2)

PH20067 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 2)
  • USXX-AAB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USXX-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 2)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)

Notes: