Subject Description:

This course provides students with the necessary framework to understand, model, and ultimately engineer the physical world: behaviour at different scales - micro, macro, lumped - in engineering applications; molecular origin of thermal and mechanical phenomena; brief discussion of chemical and electrical domains: statistical mechanics to thermodynamics and macroscopic behaviour; conservations laws for energy, mass, momentum; origin and limits of macroscopic constitutive relations: physical systems: lumped approximations; equilibrium networks; elementary dynamics: and applications to energy and materials.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the term, students will be able to:

  • Analyze problems by applying the laws of thermodynamics, perform quantitative calculations that predict the behavior of simple thermodynamic systems and apply the fundamental concepts of heat transfer.
  • Understand and be able to analyze single thermodynamic cycles. Be able to explain how some of these cycles can be used to predict and understand actual physical systems found in the real world.
  • Appreciate the concept of control mass, control volumes, closed and open systems (e.g. air mixing/handling in buildings), and the importance of energy harvesting.
  • Understand the operation of thermoelectric devices, i.e. Peltier, Seebeck effects, and photovoltaic devices, i.e. light emission, light absorption, and electricity generation.
  • Apply the basic principles of doped semi-conductors to convert thermal or photonic energy into electrical energy and vice versa (e.g., processes occurring in a solar cell that give rise to energy conversion). 
  • Analyze thermoelectric and photovoltaic systems from both a thermodynamic and a simple solid state physics perspective.
  • Critically analyze advantages and disadvantages of different energy forms.


Delivery Format*:


Grading Scheme:

Midterm 15 % or 0
Final Exam 35 % or 50%
Hands on Activity 12%
Homework 9%
In-class participation 9%
Project Work (1D) 10%
Project Work (2D) 10%         

*The first number represents the number of hours per week assigned for lectures, recitations and cohort classroom study. The second number represents the number of hours per week assigned for labs, design, or field work. The third number represents the number of hours per week assigned for independent study.