PCC-21802 Introductory Thermodynamics A


Studiepunten 2.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. JA Dijksman
dr. ir. PA Barneveld
Lecturer(s)dr. JA Dijksman
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PA Barneveld
dr. JA Dijksman

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PCC-12303 General Chemistry 1 or PCC-12803 General Chemistry for the Life Sciences.

Continuation courses:

PCC-22306 Driving Forces in Chemistry, Physics and Biology; PCC-20806 Soft Matter.


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with PCC-23303 Introductory Thermodynamics B.

Thermodynamics is the science that uses the First Law (energy is conserved) and the Second Law (entropy of the universe goes to a maximum) to describe how systems change when they interact with each other or with their surroundings. Thermodynamics was originally meant to increase the efficiency of steam engines, and has nowadays a prominent place in many scientific disciplines including cosmology, physics (phase transitions), chemistry (chemical reactions) and engineering (efficiency of energy conversion).
This course introduces thermodynamic concepts, including energy, enthalpy, entropy, chemical potential, Gibbs and Helmholtz energy. On the basis of the First and Second Law of thermodynamics, the equilibrium concept will be introduced and used to describe reversible and irreversible processes. The Gibbs energy has a central role in this. Given the molar Gibbs energies of the reactants and products involved in a process, it can be deduced in what direction a process tends to go, what will be the maximum yield of a particular product and how the direction or yield for a process can be influenced by changing temperature, pressure and composition of a system.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to: 

- describe simplifications that make thermodynamics quantitative

- identify thermodynamic concepts in real life applications;

- interpret real life processes and systems in terms of thermodynamic concepts;

- perform calculations of thermodynamic properties (e.g. heat, work, energy, entropy, molar Gibbs energy) for ideal gases, pure substances, (non-) ideal mixtures and electrochemical systems; 

- calculate the change in the molar Gibbs energy of reactions and apply this to phase transitions, equilibria and chemical reactions; 


- participate in lectures;
- participate in tutorials.


Written examination in English with open questions and/or multiple-choice questions (statements, derivations and calculations).


Reader Introductory Thermodynamics (available in the WUR-shop).

Verplicht voor: BESEnvironmental SciencesBScC: Spec. C - Environmental Technology2WD
Keuze voor: BATBiosystems EngineeringBSc2WD
MESEnvironmental SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Environmental Technology2WD