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Programme & Unit Catalogues

## PH20029: Thermal physics

Owning Department/School: Department of Physics
Credits: 6
Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Period: Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 10%, EX 90%
Assessment Detail:
• Coursework (CW 10%)
• Examination (EX 90%)
Supplementary Assessment: PH20029 Mandatory Extra Work (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before taking this unit you must (take PH10002 or take PH10052) and take PH10007 and take PH10008
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.

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

Content:
Overview (1 hour): Macroscopic and microscopic approaches to thermal physics.
Classical thermodynamics (8 hours): Basic thermodynamic concepts. The second law of thermodynamics. Entropy. Analytical thermodynamics; application to phase changes.
Statistical mechanics (8 hours): Microstates and macrostates of an isolated system, density of states, partition function. Principle of equal a priori probabilities; entropy, equilibrium and the second law. Systems in thermal contact with heat reservoir; the Boltzmann distribution. Canonical ensemble. Free energy minimisation.
Systems of weakly interacting constituents (2 hours): Ideal gas and indistinguishability. Equipartition theorem. Maxwellian gas.
Quantum gases (2 hours): Indistinguishability. Fermions and bosons. Low density limit.
Systems with variable particle number (1 hour): Grand canonical distribution; chemical potential.
Programme availability:

#### PH20029 is Optional on the following programmes:

Programmes in Natural Sciences
• UXXX-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences (Year 2)
• UXXX-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences with Study year abroad (Year 2)
• UXXX-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Natural Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 2)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
• USMA-AFB15 : BSc(Hons) Mathematical Sciences (Year 3)
• USMA-AAB16 : BSc(Hons) Mathematical Sciences with Study year abroad (Year 4)
• USMA-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Mathematical Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 4)
• USMA-AFB13 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics (Year 3)
• USMA-AAB14 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
• USMA-AKB14 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
• USMA-AFM14 : MMath(Hons) Mathematics (Year 3)
• USMA-AKM15 : MMath(Hons) Mathematics with Year long work placement (Year 4)
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)
• USPH-AFB09 : BSc Physics (Year 3)

#### PH20029 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
• USPH-AFB01 : BSc(Hons) Physics (Year 2)
• USPH-AAB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
• USPH-AKB02 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Year long work placement (Year 2)
• USPH-AFM02 : MPhys(Hons) Physics (Year 2)
• USPH-AKM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional and Research Placements (Year 2)
• USPH-AKM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Professional Placement (Year 2)
• USPH-AFM04 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Research placement (Year 2)
• USPH-AAM03 : MPhys(Hons) Physics with Study year abroad (Year 2)
• USPH-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing (Year 2)
• USPH-AAB06 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing with Study year abroad (Year 2)
• USPH-AKB06 : BSc(Hons) Physics with Computing with Year long work placement (Year 2)

Notes:
* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2014/15 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2015/16 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2014/15.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.