Energy Systems Physics and Engineering (MA060001)


Course Memo

Classical equilibrium thermodynamics is a theory of principles, which provides a framework to study means to produce motive power and useful heat, crucial for our everyday life. It is a pillar of any serious physics and engineering curriculum. This graduate course provides the students from possibly diverse backgrounds with the theoretical concepts that underlie the physics of energy conversion at the heart of heat engines operation, including chemical processes, and the specific knowledge of energy technologies in use nowadays. Covering some of the main real-world technologies for the generation of electric/mechanic, heating and cooling power: boilers, steam and organic Rankine cycles, gas turbines, internal combustion engines, heat pumps and chillers to name a few, students will learn to critically analyze and assess these technologies to improve their performance and imagine innovative and commercially viable solutions to energy problems, accounting for costs and environmental aspects like pollutants formation and their abatement. Essential notions which are taught include: energy conversion; heat transfer; work; first and second principles; working fluids and thermoelastic coefficients; thermodynamic cycles; motors and refrigerators: engines and heat pumps. Time permitting, basic notions of finite-time thermodynamics may be briefly introduced. The course is organized around the learning of essential concepts and an awareness development of current energy technologies. It is based both on "teaching with lecture" and "teaching with discussions" methods. In addition to home assignments and project, students will solve problems during tutorials and discuss their solutions.