Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Subramanian Ramachandran
PHYS 224
Seattle Campus

Thermal Physics

Introduces heat, thermodynamics, elementary kinetic theory, and statistical physics. Prerequisite: either MATH 126 or MATH 136, which may be taken concurrently; PHYS 122, which may be taken concurrently. Offered: ASpS.

Class description

The course will cover equations of state, specifically for an ideal gas, thermodynamic phase diagram, statistical methods to describe a microcanonical ensemble, thermodynamics of cyclical processes and inhomogenous reactions, state variables, and Boltzmann statistics.

Student learning goals

Understand the fundamental origins of physical quantities such as temperature and pressure and how it is derived from state variables.

Understand the laws of thermodynamics, and in particular reference to the second law, appreciate the importance of entropy.

Be able to calculate the heat of reaction from enthalpy at standard states

Apply principles of thermodynamics to ideal and non-ideal cyclical processes.

Describe phase transitions in states of matter including magnetic phase transitions

Apply the principles studied to solve problems in thermal physics

General method of instruction

In-class demonstrations will be used to reinforce the concepts studied. Most of the lecture will involve use of balckboard. Students will be encouraged to participate with questions and answers. Powerpoint presentation will be used as a teaching aid.

Recommended preparation

Introcudtory calculus and introductory physics - may be taken concurrently

Class assignments and grading

Homework problesm will be assigned from the prescribed text books. There may be multiple choice questions as well as problems that involve calculations.

The grades will be based on a curve with a certain minimum threshold established for an A grade. Weights are assigned to each component.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Subramanian Ramachandran
Date: 06/17/2011