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Thermal physics

Thermal physics covers macroscopic (whole systems) and microscopic (particles) processes. During this topic you will be develop a better understanding of the following questions and more:

  • What is the evidence that everything is made of atoms?
  • What is the difference between heat and temperature?
  • What is the relationship between heat added and temperature increase?
  • Why doesn´t the temperature of water change when it boils?
  • What are the gas laws?
  • How do you use a P-V diagram?
  • Where does the energy go 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. Having studied mechanics, which is basically the physics of a small ball, you will be ready to apply what you know the the smal

  • Particle model (kinetic theory)

    If matter is made up of atoms then we should be able to explain all the properties of matter in terms of their motion. This includes the states of matter, forces and Brownian motion.

  • Boyle's Law

    Boyle's law sounds like it's got something to do with boiling but it hasn´t. It's the law where temperature is constant. An easy experiment to do if you have the right apparatus.

  • Heat transfer

    Whether you want to prevent heat from escaping, increase it´s flow or answer an exam question you need to know the processes of heat transfer, conduction, convection and radiation.

  • Latent heat

    It is clear that to melt ice and boil water you need to add heat but where does that energy go? It seems to be hidden hence the name latent heat.

  • Temperature and heat

    "Heating up, cooling down." "Turn up the heat." "Raise the temperature." The words temperature and heat sound like they mean the same thing but they don´t. It is important that when used in physics we are clear of the difference.