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Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (SIE)
by Yunus A Cengel; Michael A Boles
Many consider this a “vegetables” class—as in “eating your vegetables first.” It is true that thermodynamics is about developing a rigorous understanding of natural processes. And it is true that thermodynamics can become tedious and also true that the useful applications don’t begin until a solid foundation is developed. However, I don’t think it necessarily has to be boring and I encourage you to keep your minds open about the beauty of developing a subject rigorously. Veggies can be tasty as well.
Much of what you will learn about materials science will rely on your comprehension of thermodynamics. Unfortunately, most of you do not yet know about all the wonderful things you are going to learn over the next three years as you become a professional materials scientist and how they depend on this course. So, there will be times when you will be struggling to learn something without knowing why you should bother to learn it. Had we an infinite amount of time, I would introduce a practical aspect of each thermodynamic concept, then rigorously teach you the concept, and then show how it applies in a particular case. However, there are a large number of concepts that I must teach you in a finite amount of time. Furthermore, some concepts are so basic and essential that any practical example would seem artificial. I have tried to distill the thermodynamics you will need to know into 37 lectures—sometimes you are going to have to trust that I am trying to teach you something useful.
I truly and deeply like thermodynamics and have liked it since the first time I took it. It is elegant and beautiful. I also think that it takes many years to master this subject. I believe that a thorough understanding of the subject—especially of the second law—separates qualified scientists from amateurs and pretenders.
However, I encourage you to be skeptical about what I tell you. Here are some excerpts from what others have said about thermodynamics:
A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression that classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced will never be overthrown, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts.
Once or twice I have been provoked and asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: It was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of “Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”
The law that entropy always increases-the second law of thermodynamics-holds I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations—then so much worse for Maxwell equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation—well these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of Thermodynamics, I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
-Sir A.S. Eddington.
Lisa, get in here. In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!