E 40 – Engineering Thermodynamics

Course Number: E40
Course Units:  4, 3 hours of lecture + 1 hour of discussion per week

INSTRUCTORS: Professors Andreas M. Glaeser and Mark D. Asta

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Fundamental laws of thermodynamics for simple substances; application to flow processes and to non-reacting mixtures; statistical thermodynamics of ideal gases and crystalline solids; chemical and materials thermodynamics; multiphase and multicomponent equilibria in reacting systems; electrochemistry. Sponsoring departments are Materials Science and Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering. (Taught in alternate years by each department in the Fall Semester.)

COURSE PREREQUISITES: Physics 7B, Math 54; Chemistry 1B recommended.

TEXTBOOK: D. R. Gaskell, Introduction to the Thermodynamics of Materials, 4th Edition (or 3rd Edition), Taylor and Francis. Supplementary texts: Books that provide additional background on selected topics in thermodynamics are on reserve and available at the Engineering Library.

REQUIRED:   Required course.


  • A fundamental understanding of the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their application to a wide range of systems.
  • Understanding of the first law of thermodynamics and various forms of work that can occur. An ability to analyze the work and heat interactions associated with a prescribed process path, and to perform a first law analysis of a flow system.
  • An ability to evaluate entropy changes in a wide range of processes and determine the reversibility or irreversibility of a process from such calculations. Familiarity with calculations of the efficiencies of heat engines and other engineering devices.
  • An understanding of the use of the Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies as equilibrium criteria, and the statement of the equilibrium condition for closed and open systems. An understanding of the interrelationship between thermodynamic functions and an ability to use such relationships to solve practical problems.
  • Familiarity with the construction and principles governing the form of simple and complex one-component pressure-temperature diagrams and the use of volume-temperature and pressure-volume phase diagrams and the steam tables in the analysis of engineering devices and systems.
  • Ability to determine the equilibrium states of a wide range of systems, ranging from mixtures of gases, mixtures of gases and pure condensed phases, and mixtures of gases, liquids, and solids that can each include multiple components.
  • Familiarity with basic concepts in solution thermodynamics, and an ability to relate the characteristics and relative energies of different liquid and solid solutions to the phase diagram of the system.
  • Familiarity with basic concepts in electrochemistry.



  • The system, the state of the system, equilibrium, the equation of state, state functions and exact differentials.
  • Work, heat, and the first law
  • Entropy, the second law and the Carnot Cycle.
  • Free energy, equilibrium criteria, and thermodynamic relationships
  • Free energy and equilibrium in simple systems
  • Equations of state of simple substances
  • Gas phase reactions
  • Reactions between gases and pure solids
  • Solution thermodynamics
  • Reactions involving components in solution
  • Introduction to electrochemistry