A Course in Classical Physics 2: Fluids and Thermodynamics – Alessandro Bettini

This is the second in a series of four volumes, all written at an elementary calculus level. The complete course covers the most important areas of classical physics, such as mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, waves and optics. This second volume deals with fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

The laws of Physics, and, more generally, of Nature, are written in the language of mathematics. The reader is assumed to have previous knowledge of the basic concepts of calculus: vectors, functions, limits and the derivative and integration operations.

Physics is an experimental science, meaning that it is based on the experimental method, which was developed by Galileo Galilei in the seventeenth century. He taught us, in particular, that to try to understand a phenomenon, one must simplify the relevant working conditions as thoroughly as possible, understanding which aspects are secondary and eliminating them as far as possible. The understanding process is not immediate, but rather, it proceeds by trial and error, through a series of experiments, which might lead, with a bit of fortune and a lot of thinking, to the discovery of the governing laws. Induction process of the laws of physics goes back from the observed effects to their causes, and, as such, cannot be purely logical. Once a physical law is found, it is necessary to consider all its possible conse­quences. This is now a deductive process, which is logical and similar to the mathematical one. Each of the consequences, the predictions, of the law must then be experimentally verified. If only one prediction is found to be false by the experiment, even if thousands of others have been found to be true, it is enough to prove that the law is false or, better yet, to show the limits of its validity. This implies that we can never be completely sure that a law is true; indeed, the number of its possible predictions is unlimited, and in any historical moment, a number of them may be uncontrolled. However, this is the price we must pay in choosing the experimental method, which has allowed humankind to advance much further in the last four centuries than in all the preceding millennia.

Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics are amongst the great intellectual constructions of Physics. Their laws are well established as well as the limits of their validity. Consequently, it can be exposed in an axiomatic way, as a chapter of mathematics. We can start from a set of propositions whose axioms are assumed to be true by definition, and deduce from them a number of theorems using only logics, as the Euclidean geometry theorems are deduced from the Euclid postulates.

We shall not follow this path. The reason for this is that, while it allows a shorter and quicker treatment and is also logically more satisfactory for some, it also hides the inductive historical trial and error process through which the postulates and the general laws have been discovered. These are arrival rather than starting points. This path has been complex, laborious, and highly nonlinear. Errors have been made, hypotheses have been advanced that turned out to be false, but finally the laws were discovered. The knowledge of at least a few of the most important aspects of this process is indispensable for developing the mental capabilities that are necessary to anybody contributing to the progress of natural sciences, whether they pursue applications or teach them. In any case, we shall mention the names of those that contributed most to the achievements that we will be discussing, along with the date of the discovery and, the first time we meet him, the life span of the author.

Contents:

1. Fluid Dynamics
2. First Law of Thermodynamics
3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
4. Thermodynamic Properties of Real Fluids
5. Microscopic Interpretation of Thermodynamics
6. Transport Phenomena
Answers
Index

Formato:  pdf Comprimido:  zip Peso:  107.25 MB Lenguaje:  Inglés

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