Module Identifier PH31610  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Geraint O Thomas  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Professor Geraint Vaughan, Dr Eleri Pryse  
Pre-Requisite PH21510 , PH23010 , PH26010 , PH27010  
Course delivery Lecture   22 lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours End of semester examinations  80%
Semester Assessment Course Work:  20%

Learning outcomes

After taking this module students hould be able to:

Brief description

This module builds on the earlier thermodynamic module PH21510. The aim of the module is to introduce further thermodynamic variables, functions and techniques and apply them to practical systems. An important element will be to demonstrate the application and usefulness of thermodynamics to the study of systems other than gaseous systems, for example to liquid-gas phase changes and also to magnetic systems. The use of thermodynamics for the generation of low temperatures will also be discussed in some detail. In addition the special properties of some materials at low cryogenic temperatures will be discussed, e.g. superconductivity and superfluidity.


Thermodynamic potentials.
Maxwell relations, thermodynamic variables.
First order phase changes: Gibbs function and Clausius-Clapeyron equation.
Second and higher order phase changes.
Ehrenfests classification, examples of different order.
Joule and Joule-Kelvin expansion and application to refrigeration.
Pomerantchuck cooling.
Adiabatic demagnetisation: attainment of very low temperatures.
Laser cooling of atoms.
Measurement of low temperatures.
Superfluidity: properties of liquid helium.
Third Law of thermodynamics: entropy near absolute zero.
Negative temperatures and population inversion.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
A. Kent Experimental Low-Temperature Physics MacMillan
C. Finn Thermal Physics Chapman Hall
** Supplementary Text
M. Sprackling Thermal Physics MacMillan Physical Sciences


This module is at CQFW Level 6