After this course, the student:|
1 understands how microscopic partition functions are determined by the atomic composition of a system;
2 can derive partition functions for simple systems;
3 can relate microscopic partition functions to macroscopic thermodynamic potentials;
4 can apply these relations to simple systems;
5 knows the crucial differences between classical (Boltzmann) and quantum mechanical (Fermi-Dirac, Bose-Einstein)
6 can interpret thermodynamic data in terms of microscopic behavior.
The focus is on the relation between the atomic composition of a system (atoms in perpetual motion) and the ensuing macroscopic behavior (pressure, temperature, etc). Statistical descriptions are introduced to describe systems of 10^23 atoms in terms of partition functions, and their relations to thermodynamic potentials are discussed. The main topics include statistical definitions of entropy, internal energy and Helmholtz free energy, the Boltzmann distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions, the fundamental assumption of statistical mechanics, the equipartition theorem, equations of state. These concepts are applied to various simple systems, like ideal and non-ideal gases, solids and liquid mixtures.