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The study of thermal physics covers macroscopic (whole systems) and microscopic (particles) processes.

Learning objectives

After studying this topic, you should be able to:

  • Discuss evidence for the atomic nature of materials
  • Distinguish between heat and temperature
  • Describe the relationship between heat added and temperature increase
  • Understand why the temperature of water doesn't change when it boils
  • Recall the gas laws and their associated experiments
  • Explain the uses of a pV diagram
  • Suggest where energy goes when work is done against friction

  • Thermal concepts

    To understand what happens to the energy we transfer to a body when we do work against friction we need to look inside the body.

  • Modelling gases

    Because there are no forces between gas molecules, the gaseous state is the simplest to model.