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Thermodynamics is a field of science which deals with the relationships of heat, work, and
properties of systems. It is a science in which the storage, the transformation, and the transfer of
energy are studied. Energy is stored as internal energy, kinetic energy, potential energy and
chemical energy; it is transformed from one of the these forms to another. There are four laws of
thermodynamics known as zeroth, first, second and third law of thermodynamics.
The name thermodynamics stems from the Greek workds therme (heat) and dynamics (power). So,
the full form is power obtained with the help of heat. Today the same name is broadly interpreted to
include all aspects of energy and energy transformations, including power generation, refrigeration,
and relationships among the properties of matter.
Applications of Thermodynamics
There is a wide range of applications of thermodynamics in engineering. Some applications of
thermodynamics are given as below:
1. All types of air and gas compressors, blowers, fans, run on various thermodynamic cycles.
2. All the refrigerators, deep freezers, industrial refrigeration systems, all types of air-
conditioning systems, heat pumps, etc work on the basis of the second law of
3. All types of vehicles that we use, cars, motorcycles, trucks, ships, aeroplanes, and many
other types work on the basis of second law of thermodynamics and Carnot Cycle.
4. One of the important fields of thermodynamics is heat transfer, which relates to transfer of
heat between two media. There are three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection and
radiation. The concept of heat transfer is used in wide range of devices like heat exchangers,
evaporators, condensers, radiators, coolers, heaters, etc.
5. Thermodynamics also involves study of various types of power plants like thermal power
plants, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, power plants based on renewable
energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, tides, water waves etc.


In macroscopic approach, certain quantity of matter is considered,without a concern on the events
occurring at the molecular level. These effects can be perceived by human senses or measured by
instruments. Examples of macroscopic analysis include pressure and temprerature.
On the other hand in microscopic analysis, the effect of molecular motion is considered. For
example: at microscopic level the pressure of a gas is not constant, the temperature of a gas is a
function of the velocity of molecules. Most microscopic properties can not be measured with
common insttrurments not can be perceived by human senses.


Thermodynamic system: It is defined as the quantity of matter or region in space upon which the
attention is focused for the sake of analysis.

Surrounding: It is a space of matter outside the thermodynamic system

Boundary: The thermodynamic systema dn surroundings are separated by an envelope called
boundry of the system.
Universe: A thermodynamic system and its surroundings together form a universe


There are three types of thermodynamic systems. These are given below as:
1. Open system
2. Closed system
3. Isolated System

Open System: It is a system in which energy as well as mass transfer take place between the
system and its surroundings.
Examples of an open system:
1. Air compressor
2. A steam boiler
3. Water heater
Closed System: It is a system in which mass remains constant i.e.
there is no transfer of mass across the boundary of the system but
there may be transfer of energy between the system and its
Examples of closed system:
1. Piston-Cylinder arrangement
2. A rubber balloon filled with air and tightly closed is an
example of closed system
Isolated system: It is a system in which no mass as well as energy transfer takes place.
Examples of isolated system:
1. The universe can be considered as isolated system
2. Thermos flask
Phase is a quantity of matter that is uniform throughout in physical structure and in chemical
composition. The matter is either all solid or all liquid or all gas in case of physical uniformity. The
chemical composition does not vary from one part of system to another in case of uniformity of
chemical composition. There are three kind of phases of the system i.e., solid, liquid and gas.
Depending upon the phases of the system, systems may be classified as:
1. Homogeneous system
2. Heterogeneous system
1. Homogeneous system: The system which has only one phase, is called as homogeneous system.
Examples are mixture of air and water vapours, solution of ammonia in water etc
2. Heterogeneous system: The system which has more than one phase, is called as heterogeneous
system. Examples are water and oil, ice and water etc

The properties which describe the physical conditions of a system, are called thermodynamic
properties. For example: pressure, volume, temperature etc. Thermodynamic properties are of two
types. These are:
1. Extensive properties
2. Intensive properties
1. Extensive Properties: The properties which are dependent upon the mass of a system, are called
extensive properties. For example: enthalpy, entropy, mass etc.
2. Intensive Properties: The properties which are independent upon the mass of a system, are called
intensive properties. For example: specific entropy, specific enthalpy, specific volume etc.
In thermodynamic equilibrium, there is no change in any thermodynamic properties of a system. A
system will be in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, if the conditions for the following three
types of equilibrium are satisfied:
1. Mechanical Equilibrium
2. Thermal Equilibrium
3. Chemical Equilbrium
1. Mechanical Equilibrium: When there are no unbalanced forces within the system and between
the system and the surrounding, the system is said to be under mechanical equilibrium. Whenever
some unbalance forces exist within the system, they will get neutralized to attain the condition of
2. Thermal Equilibrium: When the temperature of the system is uniform and not changing
throughout the system and also in the surroundings, the system is said to be thermal equilibrium.
Two systems are said to be thermal equilibrium with each other if their temperatures are same.
3. Chemical Equilibrium: When there is no chemical reaction taking place in any part of a system,
the system is said to be in chemical equilibrium
For the system to be thermodynamic equilibrium it is necessary that it should be under mechanical,
chemical and thermal equilibrium. If any one of the above condition are not fulfilled, the system is
said to be in non-equilibrium.
State: It is the condition of a system as defined by the values of all its properties. It gives a complete
description of the system.
Path: The succession of states passed through during a change of state is called the path of the
Process: When a path is completely specified then the change of the state is called a process.The
figure of a process is given as:

Figure: Representation of a Proecss

Cycle: A thermodynamic cycle is a series of thermodynamic processes which returns a system to its
initial state.

Figure: Thermodynamic Cycle

Quasi means almost or near to and static means at rest. Full meaning of quasiStatic process is very
nearly static process.Quasi-static process is a process in which a system is taken from one state to
other in infinitesimal number of steps (slowly) such that there is always an equilibrium maintained
between system and surrounding. In this proess, any intermediate state can be considered as an
equilibrium state. This process is also called quasi-equilibrium process.

Figure: Quasi-static Process

Consider a gas in a cylinder provided with a movable piston. Let the cylinder walls and the pistion
be thermal insulators. If the piston is pushed very slowly i.e., the gas is compressed very slowly,
then the molecules of the gas near the face of the piston will have sufficient time to redistribute.
Thus the pressure inside the cylinder will always be uniform and will rise at the same time at all
locations. Since equilibirum is maintained at all times, this is a quasi-equilibrium process.
When the gas in the cylinder is compressed suddenly, the molecules of the gas near the face of the
piston will not have enough time to escape. They will have to be accommodated in a small regions
infront of the piston. The pressure immediately above the piston will be increased by a finite
amount than at other locations. Because of this pressure difference, the system can no longer be said
to be in equilibrium. Such a process is a non- quasi-equilibrium process.
Reversible Process: The process in which the system and surroundings can be restored to the initial
state from the final state without producing any changes in the thermodynamics properties of the
universe is called a reversible process.
Examples of reversible process are:
1. Expansion and compression of spring
2. Evaporation
3. Frictionless movement
4. Mixing of two samples of the same substance at the same state.
Irreversible Process: The process is said to be an irreversible process if it cannot return the system
and the surroundings to their original conditions when the process is reversed. Examples of
irreversible process are:
1. Mixing of two different substances.
2. Friction
3. Transfer of heat by radiation

Differance between Reversible Process and Irreversible Process:

Reversible Process Irreversible Process
1. Reversible processes can not be realized in 1. All practical processes occuring are
practice irreversible processes
2. The process can be carried out in the reverse 2. Process, when carried out in reverse direction
direction following the same path as followed in follows the path different from that in forward
forward direction direction
3. Such processes can occur in either 3. Occurrence of irreversible processes in
directions without violating second law either direction is not possible, as in one
of thermodynamics. direction it shall be accompanied with the
violation of second law of thermodynamics.
4. Reversible process occurs at infinitesimal rate 4. Irreversible processes occur at finite rate.
i.e. quasi-static process.
5. System remains throughout in thermodynamic 5. System does not remain in thermodynamic
equilibrium during occurrence of such process. equilibrium during occurrence of irreversible