2016 Thermodynamics (EPS course)

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Yokoyama Tetsuya  Ueno Yuichiro  Ohta Kenji 
Course component(s)
Lecture / Exercise     
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue7-8(I2-318)  Fri7-8(I2-318)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

The Earth is a complex multicomponent system, though each component of the Earth system is largely controlled by physical and chemical processes. For example, the formation of rocks or minerals can be described by the thermodynamics of magma, which can be formulated as functions of temperature, pressure, and chemical composition. This course consists of basic and application classes. The first seven classes focus on fundamental laws and thermodynamic potentials. The second half of the course focuses on applications of aqueous chemistry, thermodynamics of rocks and minerals through lectures and solving problem sets.

Student learning outcomes

At the end of the basic classes, students will understand the first law, the second law, and various thermodynamic potentials. Students will be able to solve basic problems related to such fundamental issues.
At the end of the application classes, students will acquire the ability to use thermodynamics for solving geochemical problems.


Equation of state, The first law, The second law, Free energy, Phase rule, Aqueous solution, Solid solution, Paragenesis of minerals

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Before coming to class, students should read the course schedule and prepare for the topics with handouts and references.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Kinetic theory of gases Understanding kinetic energy and temperature of gas.
Class 2 Equation of state for gases Understanding gas equations for ideal gas and real gas.
Class 3 The first law Understanding work, heat, energy, and enthalpy.
Class 4 The second law Understanding Carnot cycle and Clausius inequality.
Class 5 Entropy Understanding thermodynamical definition of entropy.
Class 6 Free energy Understanding Helmholtz energy, Gibbs energy, and spontaneity of chemical reactions.
Class 7 Exercise-Basic Solve problems of thermodynamics concerning the first law and the second law.
Class 8 Aqueous chemistry Understanding the relation between Gibbs energy and concentrations.
Class 9 Equilibirum and Partitioning Understanding equilibrium constant
Class 10 Thermodynamic data tables Learn how to calculate Gibbs energy
Class 11 Exercise-Application (1) Learn how to draw pH-Eh diagram.
Class 12 Phase rule Developing the expression of Gibbs' phase rule, and understanding the phase relation of materials
Class 13 Thermodynamical treatment of rock consisting components Understanding the phase relation of rocks in multicomponent systems.
Class 14 Interaction between rock and water To describe the reaction between rocks and water by using thermodynamics functions.
Class 15 Exercise-Application (2) To solve the problems regarding the phase relation of rock in multicomponent systems.


Handouts will be provided during class

Reference books, course materials, etc.

P.W. Atkins "Atkins' Physical chemistry 10th edition" Oxford University Press
Etsuo Uchida "Thermodynamics in Mineralogy and Petrology" Kyoritsu Shuppan (in japanese)
Sadao Matsuo "Geochemistry" Kodansha (in Japanese)

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be assessed on their understanding for the thermodynamics of water, rocks, and minerals.
Students' course scores are based on final exam (65%) and exercises (35%).

Related courses

  • EPS.B211 : Inorganic Chemistry (EPS course)
  • EPS.A201 : Introduction to Material Sciences of Earth and Planet
  • CHM.B334 : Geochemistry
  • EPS.A331 : Earth Materials

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisite

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