Classical Thermodynamics for Statistical Mechanics

  1. Hi all,
    It's my first time to ask a question here

    I am now taking a Thermodynamics course and I have the authority to choose what topics to study in this course.
    My intention is to be able to study statistical mechanics afterward. So I need thermodynamics that will be useful when studying statistical mechanics.

    So I'd like to ask: what thermodynamics topics I will need if I will study statistical mechanics.

    another question is: I am studynig from a rather old book "Heat and Thermodynamics by zemansky". Is this a good book?

  2. jcsd
  3. You will need to understand the basic terminology in thermodynamics. Such as, intensive and extensive properties, state and path functions, thermal equilibrium, etc. Also the second law and Entropy are very central.

    You don't have to bother much about the practical part, like gas and steam power cycles, refrigeration, and air conditioning.
  4. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 6,143
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I haven't used Zemansky, so I can't comment on that; but I will caution you that statistical mechanics can be studied quite independently of thermodynamics and furthermore, carelessly relating the basic results of thermostatics and statistical mechanics can often lead to many conceptual difficulties for students when considering thermodynamics later.

    That said, in answer to your question you will need to have a clear understanding of: equilibrium, steady state, thermal interactions, reversible process, and the Maxwell relations.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
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