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Statistical Thermo for Mechies?

  1. Sep 14, 2010 #1
    Hi all.

    I was perusing the grad course options for mechanical engineering at a local school when I noticed a course in statistical thermodynamics. I know the difference btw classical, chemical, and statistical thermodynamics, and that MEs generally learn classical.

    What are the ME applications of a course in statistical thermodynamics? Is it for those in aerospace or nuclear?

    Thnx for any replies,
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2010 #2
    I once had the same exact question. Statistical thermodynamics is basically the study of thermodynamic systems on the micro or atomic scale. The reason you want to learn is that it teaches you what all those things like enthalpy, entropy, temperature, pressure, etc actually are. If you're not in the thermo-fluid-chemical side of ME then its probably not worth taking unless you really like math.

    The application of stat therm (more commonly called statistical mechanics) is basically anything that involves some type of chemical or thermodynamic process. For example, batteries, gas dynamics, combustion, electrlyzers, etc.
  4. Sep 14, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the reply ^.
    I went back to the school site and noticed that Non-equilibrium thermodynamics is the follow-up course. I am 1st year EE because I want to study electromagnetism/applications, but I also have an interest in thermodynamics-- mainly for applied physics like geophysics, atmospheric physics, solar physics, astrophysics,.... That may be where I end up someday...
    Given that the course was offered at the graduate level, I imagine that it would be for those who want a deeper understanding of the field for more advanced applications.

    Thanks again,
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