ME103: Thermodynamics

Course Syllabus for "ME103: Thermodynamics"

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There are many different ways that you can go about solving engineering problems.  One of the most important methods is energy analysis.  Energy is a physical property that allows work of any kind to be done; without it, there would be no motion, no heat, and no life.  You wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning, but it wouldn’t matter, because there would be no sun.  Without energy, our world would not exist as it does. Thermodynamics is the study of energy and its transfers though work.  It is the link between heat and mechanical exertion.  Once you have a solid grasp on thermodynamic concepts, you should be able to understand why certain mechanisms (such as engines and boilers) work the way they do, determine how much work they can put out, and know how to optimize these power systems.   A thorough understanding of thermodynamics is crucial to any career that focuses on HVAC systems, car engines, or renewable energy technology. This course will focus on the fundamentals of thermodynamics, including the First and Second Laws, thermodynamic properties, ideal gases, and equations of state.  We will also take a brief look at power cycles so that you understand how these basic concepts apply to real-world situations (i.e. how they pertain to a steam power plant or your refrigerator).  You should note that this class is problem-heavy.  Over the course of the semester, you will be exposed to a number of examples that have been designed to provide you with a visual understanding of the subject matter.  The concepts you learn in this course will serve as the basis for more advanced courses—Heat Transfer (ME204) and Thermal-Fluid Systems (ME303)—that will ask you to perform in-depth and working assessments of engineering problems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and use units and notations in thermodynamics.
  • State and illustrate the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
  • Identify and explain the concepts of entropy, enthalpy, specific energy, reversibility, and irreversibility.
  • Apply the first and second laws of thermodynamics to formulate and solve engineering problems for (i) closed systems, (ii) open systems under steady-state and transient conditions, and (iii) power cycles.
  • Use thermodynamic tables, charts, and equation of state (e.g. the ideal gas law) to obtain appropriate property data to solve thermodynamics problems.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed  the following courses: ME001/MA101,  ME002/MA102ME005/PHYS101, and ME101.  

Course Information

Welcome to ME103.  Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.
Course Designers: Tuan Dinh and Thi Dang
Primary Resources:

Requirements for Completion: Completion of all readings, assignments, and assessments.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.