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Should Engineering Thermodynamics Include a Simplified Treatment of Its Underlying Molecular Basis?

[+] Author Affiliations
W. John Dartnall, John Reizes, Geoff Anstis

University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Paper No. IMECE2009-10933, pp. 549-558; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6: Emerging Technologies: Alternative Energy Systems; Energy Systems: Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, November 13–19, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4379-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3863-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Engineering Thermodynamics is commonly treated at undergraduate level as “classical thermodynamics and its applications”. Recent publications, using one dimensional simulations employing hard spheres have proposed ways to obtain the laws of thermodynamics. These models help to explain the state laws, the limitation of the Carnot cycle relationship as well as difficult concepts like entropy. The models, although deterministic, are able to demonstrate the probabilistic behaviour, normally explained by the mathematically sophisticated derivations of Statistical Mechanics. Is it time to include a simplified, mechanistic explanation of Engineering Thermodynamics by deriving it from its molecular basis?

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Thermodynamics



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