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Topic 3 - Thermal Physics

Topic 3 - Thermal Physics


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Published by: IB Screwed on Jul 08, 2010
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Topic 3: Thermal Physics

Revision of Everything in Topic 3 of the IB syllabus
Jake for IBScrewed4

Topic 3: Thermal Physics
What is Thermal Physics?
Thermal Physics is the study of heat, temperature and the effects that these have upon the world. This document will just cover what is required for the SL syllabus as the topic goes a lot deeper and further into areas known as Thermodynamics which contains further Law’s relating to the transfer of heat and the processes that run the world.

Subtopic 1: Thermal Concepts
First off we’ll start with Temperature. What is Temperature and what does it mean? On the macroscopic scale (the size of things that we can see), temperature is understood to be how hot or cold something is, which in turn requires a concept of heat to understand. Temperature is also a scalar quantity in that there is no direction associated with it. Now temperature is measured primarily in day to day dealings in degrees Celsius, which however is inappropriate for use when studying Thermal Physics. For this reason in the 1800’s Lord Kelvin created the Kelvin scale where instead of zero being placed at the melting point of water, he placed it at the minimum possible temperature, the temperature at which all motion will cease, and molecules will no longer vibrate and so will be at their lowest possible energy states. It was found that this temperature was at -273°C and so to convert from the centigrade scale to the Kelvin scale one simply adds 273 to the temperature, as both have the exact same scale between values. This means that if you require the change in temperatures you do not need to change from centigrade to Kelvin. Thermal Energy (Heat) is the random kinetic energies of molecules in a substance. To work out the average kinetic energy of one of these particles at a given temperature, the equation below can be used to convert from a temperature to the average kinetic energy of a molecule at that temperature, where the temperature is in Kelvin’s. This kinetic energy comes from the random translational (movement up and down, side to side) and rotational movements of a molecule.

The first real concept that you must understand is that everything likes to be at a thermal equilibrium in a system. You can see this by how if you drop a spoon in a cup of coffee the spoon will heat up and eventually they will be the same temperature. You can further see this by how the coffee in this situation will cool down until it is at room temperature. This is the principle of thermal equilibrium. That when two bodies are in contact they will transfer thermal energy between them from the hottest to the coolest until they are in thermal equilibrium (the same temperature). Combining this principle with above it is apparent that for two substances with the same temperature, the average kinetic energy of each will be identical.

Another concept that is needed is that of internal energy. Internal energy is the combination of the thermal energy of a substance and the potential energy due to the forces holding the molecule together. There is more potential energy the higher the temperature as the molecules are further apart and therefore can come closer.

Now when we heat a substance we increase the internal energy either by increasing the average kinetic energy or by increasing the potential energy of the substance or both. The total internal energy of a body depends on what it is made out of, its temperature and how much of it we have. From this you should be able to see how an iceberg has a much larger internal energy than a cup of hot water, but from our previous principles, you should recognise that heat will from the hot water to the iceberg due to it being at a higher temperature than the iceberg. Internal energy can be thought of the amount of energy within a body and thermal energy is the transfer of some of this to another body or vice versa. Now, one final thing you need to understand is that Thermal Energy is the non-mechanical transfer of energy between an object and its surroundings. This means that it only refers to the change, or energy that has been transferred and you cannot actually say the heat energy of a body. The final thing needed for this subtopic is an understanding of the mole and the Avogadro constant. The mole is simply a measure of the number of things. A mole can be thought of like a dozen, in that you can have a dozen of eggs as well as a dozen of bulldozers. You could then calculate the mass per dozen and use that to simplify calculations involving large numbers of things. This concept is applied to the mole because with atoms, the masses are so small and the amounts we deal with in normal circumstances are so large that it would be infeasible to write down the actual number of molecules or atoms so we use the mole. The mole is defined as being an Avogadro’s constant number of things. Avogadro’s Constant is defined to be the number of carbon atoms in 12g of carbon, which gives a number of 6.02 x1023. That means one mole of eggs would be 6.02 x1023 eggs.

Subtopic 2: Thermal Properties of Matter
This subtopic is mainly concerned with calculating the changes in temperature, or the amount of energy required to a body or system of bodies, or determining the effects of things like pressure, volume and temperature on gases.

Calculating Thermal Changes
To do this there are two things that must be thought of. Firstly there is energy that simply goes to raising the temperature of a substance (This equates to raising the kinetic energy of the molecules in that mass) and the second relates to the amount of energy required to progress through a change of state (e.g. from liquid to gas). This is the increase in potential energy due to there being greater separation between the molecules. The first equation is that of the amount of heat required to raise a substance of a certain mass by a specified temperature. This equation is

Where m is the mass of the substance is the change in Temperature

is the Energy required, and the sign shows whether that energy is given off or taken in

c is a constant known as the specific heat capacity, which is unique for every substance and is a measure of how much energy is required to raise one kilogram by one Kelvin of that substance.

The second equation relates to how much energy is required to cause a change of state in a substance. It is

Where l is a constant unique to a substance known as the latent heat of vapourisation (for liquid to gas) and of fusion (for solid to liquid). In the case that the reaction is going in the opposite direction, the sign of the constant is reversed, to show that it is taking in energy from its surroundings.

These two can be combined, for where a substance goes from one temperature to another with a change of state in the middle, and also by combining with the conservation of energy, one can

determine that if a hotter object in contact with another loses a certain amount of heat then the other object must gain that amount of heat. This is the principle behind a calorimeter which is used to determine the amount of energy released in reactions etc. An example of this is if one kilogram of an unknown substance at 1000°C was placed in 100 kilograms of water at 0°C, and a final temperature of 145°C was observed, then the specific heat of that substance could be determined by solving this equation

The change in temperature values for water must split because while in different states they take different values.

Ideal Gases
Firstly an Idea of pressure is needed. Pressure is the force per area. Pressure can be thought of what holds a balloon in its shape, which is provided by the force of the gas atoms exert upon the balloon, pushing it outward. This is what is meant by with air pressure, simply how often these collisions are happening and how fast these collisions are which push the surface they are hitting and exerting a force. The kinetic theory of gases utilises this, and simply presents an idealised version of a gas, as simply being small spherical balls which exert no force between them and collisions between the gas particles are perfectly elastic and that there motion is perfectly random. These are known as the assumptions of the kinetic model of gases which however are slightly incorrect in all gases, due to there always being small forces between molecules, the gas molecules having a substructure and collisions not being completely elastic. However these only produce incorrect results in a limited number of cases where the molecules are really large, or the temperatures or pressures become too high or too low. This theory resulted in the ideal gas equation which allows for the calculation of parameters in a system or the comparison of a system at two different times.

This is modified to allow for comparison to

T-Temperature V-Volume R-Gas Constant (value depends on Units used)

P-Pressure For both of these the temperature (T) must be in Kelvin’s.

The results given by this equation can be derived from the kinetic theory of gases. For example, if the temperature is doubled and the volume and amount of particles is kept constant, then the kinetic energy of the collisions will be doubled therefore meaning that the pressure on the walls of the system will be doubled. However if the pressure is kept constant, and the volume is allowed to vary then the volume would have to double to mean that the area the forces provided by the collisions is doubled, therefore keeping the pressure the same. These can then be applied to all the other possible combinations, (eg. more particles results in more collisions, therefore a higher pressure if volume and temperature are kept constant)

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