Module – Thermal Physics

FHEQ Level: Level 5 (Second Year)
Credits: 20
Module Code: F300 20042
Course Reference Number (CRN): 59410
Delivery: September Start, Trimester 1 (Short Fat)

Syllabus Outline

• Energy in Thermal Physics
• The Laws of Thermodynamics
• Interactions and Implications
• Engines and Refrigerators
• Free Energy and Chemical Thermodynamics
• Statistical Mechanics
• Boltzmann Statistics
• Quantum Statistics
• Systems of Interacting Particles
• Crystallography, Diffraction
• Defects and diffusion


Coursework: Assignment, 50%
Written: Examination, 2 hours, 50%
More detailed information may be found in the Assessments section.


An Introduction to Thermal Physics: Daniel Schroeder (2021), OUP

Further updates and supplementary texts may be found in the University Reading Lists system.


You will learn about the laws of thermal physics and how the statistical properties of many particle systems relate to the laws in macroscopic systems. The concept of entropy will be introduced leading to an understanding of different states of matter. The module is taught by a combination of lectures and problem-solving tutorials.


1. To develop a knowledge and critical understanding in the area of Thermal and Statistical Physics including the origin and limitations of the associated laws.
2. To develop a knowledge and critical understanding of mathematical techniques associated with Thermal and Statistical Physics.
3. To develop analytical, numerical and computer-based problem solving skills in the area of Thermal and Statistical Physics.

Knowledge & Understanding

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the laws and their origins in the area of Thermal and Statistical Physics.
2. Demonstrate competence in the specification of problems using the laws of Thermal and Statistical Physics and their analytical and numerical solution.
3. Demonstrate communication through written material.

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The module is taught through a combination of lectures and tutorial classes.

Interactive tutorial classes will prepare students for assessments through a series of problem solving exercises with associated formative feedback.

Assignment – An extended problem solving exercise requiring a description and justification of methodology used together with the use of analytical and computational means to provide final solutions and a critical evaluation of the solution obtained.

Exam – A series of questions demonstrating an understanding of the topic together with application to straightforward problems that can be solved using analytical means.