31392 - Applied Thermodynamics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The aim of the Course is to provide a clear and rigorous knowledge of the foundations of thermodynamics, of energy and entropy balances for a control volume, of the thermodynamic properties of pure substances and mixtures, of the principal thermodymanic cycles. This knowledge is a conceptual basis for the study of energy-conversion and energy-transfer systems, as well as of thermal-control and igrometric-control units.

Course contents

Foundations of thermodynamics

Introduction and historical framework. Basic definitions. Zeroth law and empirical temperature. First law and definition of property energy. Heat interaction. Energy balance for a closed system. Schematization of processes, thermal reservoir. Second law: Kelvin-Planck and Clausius statements. Definition of thermodynamic temperature. Clausius inequality. Definition of property entropy. Principle of entropy nondecrease. Highest entropy principle. Entropy flux and entropy production. Simple system. Internal energy. Fundamental relation. Gibbs equation. Phase rule. Closed simple systems: enthalpy, specific heat capacities, Helmoltz free energy, Gibbs free energy, Maxwell relations. Heat engines and refrigeration units between two thermal reservoirs.

Energy and entropy balance for a control volume

Quasi-simple system. Hypothesis of local thermodynamic equilibrium. Energy and entropy balance for a control volume. Combined balance and flow availability. Examples.

Properties of pure substances

State equation and diagrams [p.T], [p,v]. Ideal gases: equation of state and deduction of Joule's law; changes of internal energy, of enthalpy, of entropy; values of specific heat capacities. Properties of liquids. Properties of saturated vapours. Clapeyron equation. Properties of real gases. Diagrams [T,s], [h.s], [p.h].

Properties of mixtures

Properties of ideal-gas mixtures. Mixing entropy. Mixtures of air and water-vapour: humidity ratio and relative humidity, enthalpy versus humidity-ratio diagram, mixing of two streams of moist air, psychrometric chart.

Thermodynamic cycles

Rankine cycle. Refrigeration cycle.


The learning material is in Italian.

The learning material for the theory is given by the notes prepared by the teacher, with title “Dispensa di Termodinamica Applicata T”, available online at the website https://campus.unibo.it/

“Dispensa di Termodinamica Applicata T” is available also in printed form at the documentation center of the School of Engineering and Architecture, Viale Risorgimento 2, close to the library Dore, at the first floor of the historic building.

The exercises required for the exam are presented and solved by the teacher in classroom. A student who cannot follow the lectures in classroom can find the same exercises, solved in a similar way, in the textbook

S. LAZZARI, B. PULVIRENTI, E. ROSSI DI SCHIO: “Esercizi risolti di Termodinamica, Moto dei Fluidi e Termocinetica” (Esculapio, Bologna, 2006).

Teaching methods

The main teaching method is given by lectures presented in classroom by the teacher, that cover all the program, for theory and for exercises. Lectures are presented at the blackboard, with the aid of slides and a video projector for some images.

Teaching includes also laboratory exercises, aiming to illustrate the methods for the calibration of thermometers and temperature measurements, as well as the operation of a reversible heat pump. Laboratory exercises will take place during the final part of the course, in the Laboratory of Technical Phisics of the Department of Industrial Engineering (DIN), located in Via Terrracini 34.

Attending the lectures in classroom is important to obtain a sound knowledge of applied thermodynamics. The laboratory exercises complete the learning and provide some expertise in temperature measurement. However, the student can obtain the highest vote in the exam also if she/he does not attend the lectures in classroom and the laboratory exercises.

Assessment methods

The assessment method is an oral exam that includes a question on the theory and the solution of an exercise.

In the question on the theory, the student must explain a topic treated in classroom and explained in the notes by the teacher. In a question concerning the solution of an exercise presented in classroom, the student must show that she/he understood and can explain the solution method.

In order to obtain the highest vote (30 cum laude), the student must show that she/he understood the topic requested and can explain it. The failure in the exam happens if the student shows that she/he does not know at all a fundamental topic of the theory, or if she/he cannot solve a problem even if the teacher suggests relevant parts of the solution method.

Teaching tools

Audiovisual systems; instruments and didactic units of the laboratory of Technical Physics (Fisica Tecnica), Department DIN, Via Terracini 34. Learning material available online: https://campus.unibo.it/

Office hours

See the website of Enzo Zanchini