Understanding the Second Law of Thermodynamics for Gases


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Course Number: V15H



Understanding the Second Law of Thermodynamics covers the foundational elements of thermodynamics of gases from an energy perspective.  Maxwell’s kinetic theory modeling is used to establish the relationship between temperature and the energy stored internally in a gas.  The first law of thermodynamics is used to establish the relationship between this internal energy and the possible interactions that a gas can have with its surroundings, thermal energy input (heat) and the work interaction.  The Carnot cycle is then used to establish the Clausius inequality from the statements of the second law.  Ultimately entropy is defined from the Clausius inequality.  Finally, the first and second laws of thermodynamics are combined to establish the Gibbs equation relating entropy to the other thermodynamic state variables, which allows the second law of thermodynamics as applied to gases to be used for quantitative calculations.

 Course Objectives: 

  1. Understand the caloric relationship for a gas as developed using Maxwell’s kinetic theory.
  2. Develop the first law of thermodynamics and write the (negative) statements of the second law of thermodynamics
  3. Establish the Clausius Inequality and the resulting state variable, entropy.
  4. Develop the Gibbs equation relating entropy to the other state variables.

Course Instructor:

Course Length: 2 Hours, ( 0. 2CEUs or 2PDHs or 2CPCs )

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