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Zhigang Suo's picture

Teaching Engineering Thermodynamics to Undergraduate Students

I have just volunteered to teach engineering thermodynamics to undergraduates in the Fall semester of 2011.  The students will be from all fields of engineering, primarily mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, and bioengineering.  I have never taught this course before, and would love to hear from you about your experience, either as a student or as a teacher. 

Here is what I have found from the website about the course.

Engineering Science 181 Engineering Thermodynamics

Amit Acharya's picture

Microcanonical Entropy and Mesoscale Dislocation Mechanics and Plasticity

(Journal of Elasticity, Carlson memorial Volume)

A methodology is devised to utilize the statistical mechanical entropy of an isolated, constrained atomistic system to define the dissipative driving-force and energetic fields in continuum thermomechanics. A thermodynamic model of dislocation mechanics is discussed. One outcome is a definition for the mesoscale back-stress tensor and the symmetric, polar dislocation density-dependent, Cauchy stress tensor from atomistic ingredients.

Hanqing Jiang's picture

A Thermodynamic Model of Physical Gels

Physical gels are characterized by dynamic cross-linksthat are constantly created and broken, changing its state between solid andliquid under influence of environmental factors.

Bo Li's picture

How is the entropy of polarization in dielectric material

In the study of thermoelastic actuation of dielectric elastomer, we can write the Helmholtz free-energy as a function of stretch ratio, nominal electric displacement and temperature (T).

The entropy (S) is the negative partial differential coefficient of W with respect of temperature (T). And we can see the change of S is due to three components: deformation, heat conduction and polarization. In an isothermal state, the deformation part has been fully investigated by Arruda and Boyce in 1993, but the polarization-induced entropy (Sp) has not been clearly stated.

Food for Thought: A Few Recent arXiv Papers

Since my research touches on the basics of QM, I have developed this habit of visiting every now and then. Last week or so, at, I found a couple of interesting articles on physics in general. I would like to share these with you.

Adrien Haxaire's picture

Looking for a Post-Doc position in Geomechanics, in Europe

Dear all,

My name is Adrien Haxaire. I am currently Associate Professor at LGCIE, INSA Lyon, France, until end of August. I am looking for a
Post-Doc position in geomechanics in Europe.

During my PhD, I developped a thermodynamical model capable of describing coupled THMC phenomena in unsaturated porous media. It was implemented in Cast3M. 

I am very interested in chemical reactions in porous media, their modelling and implementation. I am also interested in the field of CO2 sequestration.

Robert C. Cammarata's picture

New papers on thermodynamics and mechanics of surfaces

Please allow me to note that I have recently published in Philosophical Magazine a paper that presents a general approach to Gibbsian surface thermodynamics that includes a treatment of solid surfaces.  It can be accessed through the following link:

WaiChing Sun's picture

potential functional for material exhibts non-associative elastoplastic response

Does anyone knows where I can find any paper discuss the existence of potential functinoal for materials that violate the maximum plastic dissipation principle (due to non-convex yield function and/or non-associately fluw rule)?

Zhigang Suo's picture

Learning temperature, pressure, and chemical potential

I have updated sections of my notes on thermodynamics.  A few thoughts on learning are collected here.  Of our world the following facts are known:

Zhigang Suo's picture

Free Energy

For a system in thermal contact with the rest of the world, we have described three quantities: entropy, energy, and temperature. We have also described the idea of a constraint internal to the system, and associated this constraint to an internal variable.

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Strain gradient plasticity: the flow rule of Fleck and Hutchinson violates thermodynamics ?

A recent paper on JMPS has seriously questioned the foundation of the SGP theory of Fleck and Hutchinson.  The matter is not simple, but is it a good bench test for imechanica to discuss?


For a nanosystem the second law of thermodynamics is still effective

For a nanosystem,the total number of atoms(say less than 100),I want to knom In such a system the second law of thermodynamics is still effective ?

Zhigang Suo's picture


So far we have been mainly concerned with systems of a single independent variable: energy (node/4878). We now consider a system of two independent variables: energy and volume. A thermodynamic model of the system is prescribed by entropy as a function of energy and volume.

The partial derivatives of the function give the temperature and the pressure. This fact leads to an experimental procedure to determine the function for a given system.

The laws of ideal gases and osmosis are derived. The two phenomena illustrate entropic elasticity.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Josiah Willard Gibbs and his two shorter papers on thermodynamics

There seems to be tremendous enthusiasm among young mechanicians to master thermodynamics. I have found no better source for enlightenment than Gibbs's own writings on the subject, collected in a paperback, still in print. By common consensus, his masterpiece on the subject is the 300-page paper entitled "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances". Although I have returned to the long paper many times for illumination, my own favorites are his two shorter papers, written in 1873, before the long one. In many ways, I think, the longer paper is an elaboration of the ideas in the two shorter ones. The title of the short papers are

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 
Zhigang Suo's picture

The Boltzmann Distribution

  • A small system in thermal contact with a large system
  • The Boltzmann factor
  • Partition function
  • The probability for a system in thermal equilibrium with a reservoir to be in a specific state
  • The probability for a system in thermal equilibrium with a reservoir to be in a configuration
  • Thermal fluctuation of an RNA molecule
  • A matter of words

Return to the outline of Statistical Mechanics.

Zhigang Suo's picture


  • A dissection of a sample space
  • Entropy of a dissection of a sample space


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