What is thermodynamics?
Thermodynamics is the science that deals with energy production, storage, transfer and conversion. It studies the effects of work, heat and energy on a system. Despite the fact it is a very broad subject that affects most fields of science including biology and microelectronics, we will concern mostly with large scale observations.
- In physics and in everyday life a temperature is an objective comparative measurement of hot or cold based on our sense of touch. This definition is not a simple matter. Kinetic theory of gases provides a microscopic explanation of temperature. It is based on the fact that during an elastic collision between a molecule with high kinetic energy and one with low kinetic energy, part of energy will transfer to the molecule of lower kinetic energy.
- Energy is generally defined as the potential to do work or produce heat. Sometimes it is like the “currency” for performing work. You must have energy to accomplish work. To do 1 kilojoule of work, you must expend 1 kilojoule of energy.
- The enthalpy is defined to be the sum of the internal energy E plus the product of the pressure p and volume V.
- There are four laws of thermodynamics that define fundamental physical quantities (temperature, energy, and entropy) and that characterize thermodynamic systems at thermal equilibrium.
- The ideal gas model is used to predict the behavior of gases and is one of the most useful and commonly used substance models ever developed.
- A thermodynamic process is defined as a change from one equilibrium macrostate to another macrostate. The initial and final states are the defining elements of the process.
- Typical thermodynamic cycle consists of a series of thermodynamic processes transferring heat and work, while varying pressure, temperature, and other state variables, eventually returning a system to its initial state.
- Today, the Rankine cycle is the fundamental operating cycle of all thermal power plants where an operating fluid is continuously evaporated and condensed.