Basic Thermodynamics ~ J. Pohl ©  (A~10/14)     (A~Next)

THERMO Spoken Here!

is more than Basic Thermodynamics. The "more" are its topics repeated from HS physics, University Physics and Calculus. TSH was written to assist teachers and students in learning (re-learning, if you choose) prerequisite topics, then Thermo. This writing constructs a stepping-stone path of tutorials from geometry, algebra through HS physics to the beginning of engineering thermodynamics. Over 200 compact, tutorials have been completed. Aspects of the content are:

Basic Mechanics Review:  Newton's Laws of Motion (published in 1687) form the basis of classical mechanics from which classical thermodynamics evolved. In high school the 2nd Law is taught as "f = mA," with minimal use of vector math or calculus. Here the approach is different. Newton defined mass and momentum then to explain motion he invented the construct, "force." One law, his 2nd, covers the cases adequately. The equation form,     d(mV)/dt = ΣF, will be used to solve problems with the physical model BODY as the system. This equation has the same form as the mass equation and as the energy equation of thermo.

Vectors and Calculus:  Newton used vectors and calculus at a beginning level to explain events of physical reality and to convey his understandings to others. The math used in beginning mechanics and thermo (geometry, algebra, trigonometry, vectors and calculus) is presented as needed (and is re-presteted every time it is used - no steps omitted). Many principles of physics and engineering are alike when expressed mathematically. Our principal math tool is the first-order, ordinary differential equation with its time domain and initial conditions specified. Such mathematics is introduced and used repeatedly with every example.

Coverage:   This coverage begins at a 10th grade level for a science geek. Topics presented lead, roughly, to the level of the third or fourth chapter of any of the current "best-seller" Mechanical Engineering Thermodynamics texts.

Friction, Entropy and Carnot et al:   Friction is quantifiable for the simplest system, BODY (or Extended BODY). Fluid friction is a topic of later courses. Also entropy, availability, and cyclic engines are left for later study. These and other, non-basic, special topics of thermodynamics are not addressed here.

Discussion of Current Texts  Most students of thermo are required to purchase the latest edition of a commercial text. New editions of texts arrive every two or so years, each edition is touted as "improved," though being essentially the same text. Previous editions are obsolesed by a new cover and a re-numbering of pages and examples. Some texts have errors (Sonntag) that have orbited through editions since Sputnik. Comments presented here address principally the first three chapters of any texts and are intended to be constructive. There are no "solutions manuals" posted here.

Tutoring:  Tutoring is difficult via e-mail. But tools are improving ~ we can try. Tutoring is free. I will do my best to help you.

I hope this writing will be of use to you,


James Pohl, PhD
February, 2017