PHY 104: Heat and Thermodynamics

3 credits | Prerequisites: PHY 101, MAT 104

Course rationale

This is one of the courses offered by the university which is mandatory for students who wish to major in Physics. The course forms a one-year standard course in Heat and Thermodynamics. Prerequisites for this course are PHY 101, PHY 102, and MAT 104. It is highly recommended that the students must have a fair amount of background in Linear Algebra. Especially, knowledge of Calculus of Several Variables will be required sometimes.

Course content

Introduction and the Kinetic Theory of Gas: Concept of temperature and heat; Absolute Scale Temperature; Quantity of heat; Equations of state; Zeroth Law; Microscopic model of an ideal gas and gas laws; real gases; Van der Waal’s equation; critical constants; the concept of pressure and temperature in kinetic theory; mean free path; molecular collisions and transport phenomena; limitations of kinetic theory. The First Law of Thermodynamics: Heat as energy and work; Work and heat in volume changes; Internal energy; Reversible and irreversible process; First Law of Thermodynamics; Calculation of Work; Heat and Internal Energy for Adiabatic; Isothermal; Isobaric and Isochoric process. The Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat engines; Efficiency of Heat engines; Carnot’s cycle and Carnot’s Theorem; the concept of Entropy; Change in entropy in reversible; irreversible and cyclic processes; Different statements of the Second law of thermodynamics. Kelvin’s statement of 2nd law. Applications of Thermodynamics: i) Cooling of gasses by free expansion and Throttling (JouleThomson Process); ii) Adiabatic demagnetization; iii) Heat pumps and refrigerators; iv) Thermoelectric phenomena; Seebeck, Peltier and Thompson effects. The Third Law of Thermodynamics and Thermodynamic Potentials: The Third Law of Thermodynamics; Thermodynamic Potentials; Enthalpy; Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies; Heat capacities and their interrelation. Phase Transition: Classification of Phase transitions. First-order and second-order phase transitions and their examples. Clausius-Clapeyron’s equation; Chemical potential. Gibb’s
phase rule.

Course objectives

  1. Familiarize and memorize the fundamental concept of the kinetic theory of gases.
  2. Understand and memorize the laws of thermodynamics and various thermodynamics process.
  3. Recognize and solve numerical problems related to thermodynamics and gases using the proper mathematical form, like algebra and basic calculus.
  4. Undertake energy conservation law in thermal systems and evaluate the effects of heat and temperature in a mechanical system.
  5. Familiarizer with the working principle of heat engines and refrigerators.
  6. Identify and solve numerical problems of first and second-order phase transitions.
  7. Use Helmholtz and Gibbs free energies, Thermodynamic Potentials, and Enthalpy to express a system in detail.


  1. Heat and Thermodynamics: M. Zemansky and Dittman; McGraw-Hill: McGraw-Hill Companies: 8th edition.
  2. Fundamentals of Physics: David Halliday; Robert Resnick; Jearl Walker : John Wiley & Sons: 13th edition.
  3. Physics: David Halliday; Robert Resnick; K. Krane: John Wiley and Sons: John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 5th edition.
  4. Equilibrium Thermodynamics: Adkins, C.J: Cambridge University Press: 3rd edition.
  5. Fundamental of statistical and thermal Physics: F.Reif; McGraw-Hill: Waveland Pr Inc: 3rd edition.