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PHYS 351 Thermodynamics

This course introduces the concepts of thermodynamics. Topics include the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, statistical mechanics, specific heat capacities of gases and solids, efficiency and the Carnot cycle, chemical potential, chemicals and phase equilibriums, etc. Applications explored will include the behavior of gases and the operation of heat engines. Laboratories emphasize real world applications of the concepts and problem solving skills taught in this course.


Special information

Overlap: Student cannot receive credit for both CHEM 351 Physical Chemistry I and PHYS 351 Thermodynamics.
First day attendance is mandatory.
5 Undergraduate credits

Effective May 6, 2014 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Demonstrate mastery of the thermodynamics concepts and vocabulary at the level necessary for success in graduate level work in this field.
  • Demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills and competency with arithmetic, algebra and statistics at a level appropriate for graduates of bachelors degree programs in the physical sciences.
  • Demonstrate understanding of scientific theories and facts in thermodynamics at a level appropriate to upper division undergraduate study in chemistry and physics.
  • Understand and apply concepts of energy, heat, pressure, work, heat capacities, enthalpy, thermal equilibrium, entropy, chemical potential and their molecular view.
  • Understand and apply equipartition theorem.
  • Understand and apply free energy and chemical potential.
  • Understand and apply statistical mechanics.
  • Understand and apply the first law, second law and third law of thermodynamics and their molecular origin.
  • Understand and apply the laws of thermodynamics to heat engines and refrigerators.
  • Understand and apply the microscopic model of thermodynamic systems including the ideal gas, paramagnets, etc.
  • Use the above listed knowledge in quantitative problem-solving with differential and integral calculus.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
01 Thermodynamics Daghigh, Ramin G Books for PHYS-351-01 Spring 2024 Course details for PHYS-351-01 Spring 2024