Understanding Thermodynamics

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, 1969 - Science - 103 pages
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Grappling with the first and second laws of thermodynamics can test the intellectual mettle of even the most dedicated student of the physical sciences. Approaching the subject for the first time may raise more queries and doubts than are usually handled in the basic, straightforward textbook.
Based on a series of lectures delivered to 500 sophomore engineering students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Van Neer's clear, lucid treatment is readily comprehensible by undergraduate-level science and engineering students. His language is informal, his examples are vivid and lively, his perspective is fresh. This book, a companion to a basic textbook, discusses thermodynamics, a topic of profound importance in the study of physics, in a manner which elucidates fundamental concepts and demonstrates their practical applicability.
In these increasingly energy-conscious and costly times, as traditional energy sources are being depleted and revolutionary new sources are contemplated, appreciating the consequences of the laws of thermodynamics is more than a fascinating avenue of intellectual inquiry: it is a pragmatic concern imperative to all — students, scientists, engineers, technicians, politicians, businessmen, and anyone facing the energy challenges of the future. Here is help understanding concepts which will prove all-important in the next century.
Dr. H. C. Van Ness is a distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-author of several textbooks on thermodynamics. He is an unsurpassed as an expert in the field.


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"This is an awesome book; easy to read and very insightful. In particular, I enjoyed reading the first chapter on the first law of thermodynamics, the second on reversibility, and the fifth and sixth on the second law. My only complaint is that Van Ness employs British Thermal Units. Another minor point : Van Ness takes the work done by the system as positive and that done on the system as negative. Engineers always do this. Physicists and chemists employ the opposite convention. For them the sign coincides with the sign of change of internal energy caused by the work process. When the system does work,
its internal energy decreases; hence the work done by the system is negative. When work is done on the system its internal energy increases; hence work done on the system is positive." in K P N Murthy, Thermdynamics : Notes", (unpublished) (2012)

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was fun

Selected pages


Energy ConservationThe First Law of Thermodynamics
The Concept of Reversibility
Heat Engines
Power Plants
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
More on the Second Law
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

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