2022 Thermodynamics in Metals

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Materials Science and Engineering
Susa Masahiro 
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Course description and aims

 Thermodynamics was started with discussion on the efficiency of steam engine; nowadays it has been applied more widely to quantum physics, astrophysics, bioscience, information science and so on. The concept of thermodynamics is very important to materials science and engineering as well, and this course provides the basis of many courses offered in Undergraduate Major 'Materials Science and Engineering'.
 This course starts with review on the first to third laws of thermodynamics including internal energy, enthalpy, entropy, Gibbs energy, etc., followed by the topics such as the chemical potential and the Gibbs phase rule, the latter being applied to phase diagrams and also systems involving various chemical reactions. Finally, the concept of activity is introduced along with standard states for components in gas and condensed phases, in addition to interaction parameters. By combining lectures and exercises, this course enables students to understand and acquire the fundamentals of chemical equilibrium calculation for systems involving various chemical reactions.
 Thermodynamics is very important for research and development of high temperature materials and processing. Students are also expected to understand the backgrounds against which the concepts such as enthalpy, Gibbs energy, activity and so on were created in addition to how to use them. Thermodynamics should be useful to your own research project as well.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) Calculate internal energy, enthalpy, entropy and Gibbs energy changes of reactions.
2) Apply the Gibbs phase rule to discuss intensive parameters required to establish phase equilibrium and chemical equilibrium.
3) Understand the concept of activity and calculate chemical equilibria using the Gibbs energy change and equilibrium constants.


First to third laws of thermodynamics, Internal energy, Enthalpy, Entropy, Gibbs energy, Chemical potential, Equilibrium, Gibbs phase rule, Degrees of freedom, Activity, Standard state, Equilibrium constant, Interaction

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
You will acquire knowledge of thermodynamics as an engineering tool with understanding its basis.

Class flow

Basically, solutions to exercise problems that were assigned for the previous class are reviewed at the beginning of each class. Towards the end of the class, students are given exercise problems related to the lecture given on that day to solve. To prepare for class, students should read the course schedule section and check what topics will be covered. Required learning should be completed outside of the classroom for preparation and review purposes.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 First law and enthalpy - Difference between internal energy and enthalpy changes Calculation of enthalpy change for phase change and/or chemical reaction
Class 2 Second and third laws and entropy - Entropy changes of universe, system and surroundings Calculation of entropy change for phase change and/or chemical reaction
Class 3 Gibbs energy and thermodynamic functions - Definition and meaning of Gibbs energy Calculation of Gibbs energy change for phase change and/or chemical reaction
Class 4 Chemical potential and phase rule - Component, phase and degrees of freedom Calculation of numbers of components, phases and degrees of freedom
Class 5 Activity - Standard states of components in gas and condensed phases Calculation of chemical equilibria using activity of gas
Class 6 Raoultian and Henrian activities - Chemical potential difference between their standard sates Calculation of chemical equilibria involving solutions
Class 7 1mass% Henrian activity and interaction parameter - How to use interaction parameters Calculation of activity coefficient using interaction parameters

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


No particular textbook

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Materials relevant to the lecture are provided via T2SCHOLA.
Standard textbooks on chemical thermodynamics will be useful as reference books, including Atkins 'Physical Chemistry' used in 'Thermodynamics of Materials (MAT.A204)'.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge of laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic functions including chemical potential, phase rule, activity and its standard state will be assessed along with the ability to apply the knowledge to problems.
Final exams 70%, exercise/assignment problems 30%.

Related courses

  • MAT.A204 : Thermodynamics of Materials
  • MAT.M202 : Statistical Mechanics(M)
  • MAT.M207 : Phase Diagram and Stability in Metals
  • MAT.M308 : Electrochemistry of Metals
  • ENR.J402 : Physical Chemistry for High Temperature Processes -Thermodynamics-
  • ENR.J403 : Physical Chemistry for High Temperature Processes -Smelting and Refining Processes-
  • ENR.J404 : Physical Chemistry for High Temperature Processes -Oxidation of Metals-

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

Students must have successfully completed 'Thermodynamics of Materials' (MAT.A204) or have equivalent knowledge.

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