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What is Thermodynamics?
A branch of physics, thermodynamics is the study of the relationship between properties of heat, temperature, energy, and work.
Central to that relationship and to the laws of thermodynamics are the concepts of entropy and the Internal Energy Formula.
The Internal Energy Formula, or the First Law of Thermodynamics, states that energy can be converted from one form to another with the interaction of heat, work and internal energy, but cannot be created or destroyed.
Entropy in thermodynamics describes the measure of a system’s thermal energy per unit of temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work.
The field of thermodynamics grew out of the drive in the 19th century to improve on the efficiency of the steam engine. With roots in mechanical engineering, basic thermodynamics is taught in most engineering degree programs. The application of thermodynamics translates across engineering specialties to include chemical thermodynamics, thermodynamics physics, and fluid mechanics, among others.
As a result of its wide applicability, thermodynamics engineers can find employment in several industries, including thermodynamics chemistry and chemical manufacturing, aerospace, and mechanical parts, engines, electronics and electrical engineering fields.
Courses in Thermodynamics
Through edX you can sign up for more advanced undergraduate thermodynamics courses or prepare for the AP physics exams with courses in AP physics.
AP Physics 2, offered by Rice University, focuses on thermodynamics and fluids. Prepare for the AP Physics 2 Exam and learn about fluid mechanics and thermodynamic processes, how systems can change based on their interactions, and how systems are constrained by conservation laws.
Alternately, if you are a student of mechanical engineering at the college level, you also have the option of taking IIT Bombay’s course, Thermodynamics, and study terms and concepts used in thermodynamics, along with the three foundational laws of thermodynamics (zeroth, first, and second).
Sign up today and explore your interest in thermodynamics or take the first steps to preparing for a career in engineering.
Jobs in Thermodynamics
A thermodynamics engineer applies the theory of thermodynamics to many types of mechanical systems. Therefore, a bachelor or masters in thermodynamics can lead to an exciting career as a thermodynamics engineer, a mechanical engineering technician, or a thermodynamics physicist.
According to the Federal Bureau of Employment Statistics, the median salary for physicists and astronomers in 2016 was $114,879; in 2015 the median salary for all engineers was over $80,000, making the study of thermodynamics a high earning field with broad applicability.
Currently, a search of thermodynamics jobs on Indeed.com yields over 1,000 results – from High School Teacher to the Controls Engineer at a top material science lab. 779 of the jobs listed boast yearly salaries of upwards of $65,000.
Career in Thermodynamics
With implications for many areas of physics and engineering, a career in thermodynamics can prepare you for a wide variety of roles. In-depth knowledge of the production and redistribution of energy is crucial and coveted in industrial fields and science in our constantly changing and technologically advancing world. Consider a career in thermodynamics today!
Take free online classes and courses in thermodynamics to build your skills and advance your career. Learn thermodynamics and other in-demand subjects with courses from top universities and institutions around the world on edX.