Research Papers

A Novel Sequence of Exposition of Engineering Thermodynamics *

[+] Author and Article Information
Gian Paolo Beretta

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Università di Brescia,
Brescia, Italy

Elias P. Gyftopoulos

Departments of Mechanical Engineering
and of Nuclear Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, MA 02139

*Proceedings of the Winter Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New Orleans, LA, November 28–December 3, 1993, in Thermodynamics and the Design, Analysis, and Improvement of Energy Systems, edited by H.J. Richter, ASME book H00874 AES-Vol. 30/HTD-Vol. 266, pp. 209–219 (1993).

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(2), 021009 (Mar 01, 2015) (6 pages) Paper No: 09-BerettaGyftopoulos-AS; doi: 10.1115/1.4026385 History: Online December 08, 2014

We present the foundations of thermodynamics in a novel sequence in which all basic concepts are defined in terms of well known mechanical ideas. Many definitions are new. The order of introduction of concepts is: system (constituents and parameters); properties; state; energy (without heat and work) and energy balance; classification of states in terms of time evolution; existence of stable equilibrium states; available energy; entropy (without heat and temperature) of any state (equilibrium or not) and entropy balance; properties of stable equilibrium states; temperature in terms of energy and entropy; chemical potentials; pressure; work; heat; applications of balances. This novel sequence not only generalizes the subject of thermodynamics to all systems (large or small) and all states (equilibrium and not equilibrium) but also avoids both the conceptual and definitional difficulties that have been recognized by so many teachers, and the confusion experienced by so many students.

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