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Schools University Thermodynamics

  1. Jul 10, 2008 #1
    I will be taking this course in Fall 08. Here is a description:

    Obviously I should review the topics mentioned above that were covered in my Physics sequence, but is there anything else I could do to prepare for the course? Any maths or anything.

    I am not too worried, I just like to have a jump on my course :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2008 #2


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    Good thinking!

    What math have you had so far?

    Edit: what level is the class - upper or lower division?
  4. Jul 10, 2008 #3
    Calculus 1 and 2 (no multivariable yet), Diff Eqs , and I am (painfully) teaching myself Linear Algebra as we speak.

    I am not sure how to answer this question. That is, I don't know what it means :redface: I am a Mech E major if that helps. And it's my first course in Thermo.
  5. Jul 10, 2008 #4


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    Just be sure you are good with the ideas of partial differentiation, the chain rule, and exact differentials. These come up over and over again in the study of thermodynamics.
  6. Jul 10, 2008 #5
    Good tip! :smile: I'll get cracking on that.
  7. Jul 10, 2008 #6
    The introductory thermodynamics for mechanical engineers is very concept oriented. The math isn't anything worse than what you've encountered in physics, though differentials and partial differentiation will arise, as many relations are developed by rearranging these sorts of equations. It wouldn't hurt to get a sneak peak at the 4 laws of thermodynamics (and their appropriate equations). Definitions of terms like "state" and "property" are pivotal, and will be thrown around with reckless abandon, so be comfortable with them. If you're feeling squirrelly, the thermodynamics potentials: internal energy, enthalpy, hemholtz free energy, and gibbs free energy.

    Of course you should only look into this if you're actually interested, because thermodynamics will be waiting for you in fall.
  8. Jul 10, 2008 #7


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    I second nicksauce's advice.

    What I meant by upper or lower division was the difference between introductory thermo and statistical mechanics (typically taken in the junior or senior year by physics majors). Intoductory classes utilize the calculus you've already taken, but statistical mechanics is heavily into the multivariate stuff. Sorry for the confusion :smile: !
  9. Jul 10, 2008 #8
    Cool. Thanks! :smile: Everything interests me; it's a curse.

    Gotcha' :wink: And thanks for clarifying. :smile:
  10. Jul 11, 2008 #9

    Andy Resnick

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    That looks like a standard course curriculum. It could help to review unit conversions: Btu's to Joules, for example- especially for heating and refrigeration applications. The math is likely to be not much more than algrebra, but if you can get a sneak-peak at the textbook, you can see for yourself.
  11. Jul 11, 2008 #10
    You can start right now by reading this article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_thermodynamic_relation" [Broken] :approve:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  12. Jul 12, 2008 #11
    This whole course will likely be expressed in partial derivatives. Depedning on the book, you might also get into line integrals and some vector analysis. The best idea is to get a sketch of Calc 3 (multivariable and vector calculus). Get an idea of counting principles from highschool, ie. baby statistics, which may be useful when deriving entropy. Not much physics is needed. Just be sure you know what work is, and how to picture it as area on a graph.
  13. Jul 12, 2008 #12
    not engineering thermo
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