PHY2023  Thermal Physics  202223 

Dr C.M. Brunt  
Delivery Weeks:  T2:0111  
Level:  5 (NQF)  
Credits:  15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS  
Enrolment:  162 students (approx) 
This module builds on the discussion of thermal properties in the Stage 1 PHY1024 Properties of Matter module, introduces classical thermodynamics and shows how its laws arise naturally from the statistical properties of an ensemble. Realworld examples of the key ideas are presented and their application in later modules such as PHY2024 Condensed Matter I and PHY3070 Stars from Birth to Death is stressed. The concepts developed in this module are further extended in the PHYM001 Statistical Physics module.
The aim of classical thermodynamics is to describe the states and processes of of systems in terms of macroscopic directly measurable properties. It was largely developed during the Industrial Revolution for practical purposes, such as improving the efficiency the steamengines, and its famous three laws are empirically based.
The aim of statistical mechanics, which had major contributions from Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs, is to demonstrate that statistical methods can predict the bulk thermal properties of a system from an atomistic description of matter. The theory provides the only tractable means of analysing the almost unimaginable complexity of an Nbody system containing 10^{23} particles. The classical second law of thermodynamics finds a natural explanation in terms of the evolution of a system from the less probable to the more probable configurations.
A student who has passed this module should be able to:
Description  Study time  KIS type 

22×1hour lectures  22 hours  SLT 
5×6hour selfstudy packages  30 hours  GIS 
8×2hour problems sets  16 hours  GIS 
Problems class support  8 hours  SLT 
Tutorial support  3 hours  SLT 
Reading, private study and revision  71 hours  GIS 
Weight  Form  Size  When  ILOS assessed  Feedback 

0%  Exercises set by tutor  3×1hour sets (typical)  Scheduled by tutor  114  Discussion in tutorials 
0%  Guided selfstudy  5×6hour packages  Fortnightly  114  Discussion in tutorials 
10%  8 × Problems sets  2 hours per set  Weekly  114  Marked in problems class, then discussed in tutorials 
15%  Midterm Test  30 minutes  Weeks T2:06  113  Marked, then discussed in tutorials 
75%  Examination  120 minutes  May/June assessment period  113  Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions. 
The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).
Core text:
Supplementary texts:
ELE:
Prerequisite Modules  Properties of Matter (PHY1024) and Mathematics for Physicists (PHY1026) 

Corequisite Modules  Mathematics with Physical Applications (PHY2025) 
Reassessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.
Original form of assessment  Form of reassessment  ILOs reassessed  Time scale for reassessment 

Whole module  Written examination (100%)  113  August/September assessment period 
Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.


IoP Accreditation Checklist 

Availability  unrestricted 
Distance learning  NO 
Keywords  Physics; Thermodynamics; Properties; Heat; Energy; System; State; Distribution; Boltzmann; Entropy; Functions. 
Created  01Oct10 
Revised  08Aug20 