Solved Problems in Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics by Gregor Skačej and Primož Ziherl

Solved Problems in Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

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Contents of Solved Problems in Thermodynamics eBook

  • Equation of State
  • The First Law
  • The Second Law
  • Thermodynamic Potentials
  • Phase Transitions
  • Mixtures
  • Transport Phenomena
  • Classical Canonical Ensemble
  • Equation of State
  • Entropy
  • Quantum Canonical Ensemble
  • Grand Canonical Ensemble
  • Kinetic Theory of Gases

Preface to Solved Problems in Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

Mastering a topic in physics generally includes solving a suitable set of problems, either in tutorials and homework assignments or while preparing for an examination.

Thermodynamics and statistical physics are no exception, although their conceptual framework is seemingly simple, at least at the level of equilibrium phenomena, and they are usually technically undemanding compared to, e.g., theory of elasticity or electromagnetism.

Most standard textbooks on thermodynamics and statistical physics do contain some problems that the readers can use to consolidate their knowledge, but the dedicated solved-problems volumes address the development of these specific skills in a more focused, hands-on, and comprehensive fashion. This book belongs to the latter category.

The material included is or has been used in the undergraduate course on statistical thermodynamics for students of physics at the University of Ljubljana.

The topics discussed cover the standard syllabus of most such courses from the equation of state to the kinetic theory of gases, and elementary knowledge of classical and quantum physics is sufficient to tackle most problems.

With the selection of problems, we wish to emphasize that the theoretical apparatus of thermodynamics and statistical physics is quite universal and that it does not apply solely to pVT systems best known from the typical general-physics course for freshmen.

This is why we often discuss electric, magnetic, and other non-pVT systems, equations of state, etc., so as to offer readers the opportunity to recognize the universality by themselves.

At the same time, we put emphasis on examples from soft condensed matter physics, touching upon the many instances where excluded-volume interactions lead to interesting effects. (Here we must refer the interested reader to the excellent Entropy Beyond the Second Law by Attard.)

In several cases, we resort to seemingly artificial problems, such as when discussing the two-dimensional Fermi gas, because there exists an exact closed-form solution, which is well worth deriving and examining. Some of the problems are actually case studies dealing with selected special topics from different fields of physics.

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