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Activities

Lecture

120 min.

Entropy and Temperature
These lecture notes for the second week of https://paradigms.oregonstate.edu/courses/ph441 involve relating entropy and temperature in the microcanonical ensemble, using a paramagnet as an example. These notes include a few small group activities.
• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

Problem

Entropy and Temperature

Suppose $g(U) = CU^{3N/2}$, where $C$ is a constant and $N$ is the number of particles.

1. Show that $U=\frac32 N k_BT$.

2. Show that $\left(\frac{\partial^2S}{\partial U^2}\right)_N$ is negative. This form of $g(U)$ actually applies to a monatomic ideal gas.

• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

Problem

Surface temperature of the Earth
Calculate the temperature of the surface of the Earth on the assumption that as a black body in thermal equilibrium it reradiates as much thermal radiation as it receives from the Sun. Assume also that the surface of the Earth is a constant temperature over the day-night cycle. Use the sun's surface temperature $T_{\odot}=5800\text{K}$; and the sun's radius $R_{\odot}=7\times 10^{10}\text{cm}$; and the Earth-Sun distance of $1.5\times 10^{13}\text{cm}$.
• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

Heat and Temperature of Water Vapor
In this introduction to heat capacity, students determine a derivative that indicates how much the internal energy changes as the temperature changes when volume is held constant.

Small Group Activity

10 min.

Thermal radiation at twice the temperature
This small group activity has students reasoning about how the Planck distribution shifts when the temperature is doubled. This leads to a qualitative argument for the Stefan-Boltzmann law.
• Found in: Contemporary Challenges course(s)

Quiz

60 min.

Free expansion
Students will determine the change in entropy (positive, negative, or none) for both the system and surroundings in three different cases. This is followed by an active whole-class discussion about where the entropy comes from during an irreversible process.
• Found in: Energy and Entropy course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

A glass of water
Students generate a list of properties a glass of water might have. The class then discusses and categorizes those properties.
• Found in: Energy and Entropy course(s)

Problem

Paramagnetism
Find the equilibrium value at temperature $T$ of the fractional magnetization $$\frac{\mu_{tot}}{Nm} \equiv \frac{2\langle s\rangle}{N}$$ of a system of $N$ spins each of magnetic moment $m$ in a magnetic field $B$. The spin excess is $2s$. The energy of this system is given by \begin{align} U &= -\mu_{tot}B \end{align} where $\mu_{tot}$ is the total magnetization. Take the entropy as the logarithm of the multiplicity $g(N,s)$ as given in (1.35 in the text): $$S(s) \approx k_B\log g(N,0) - k_B\frac{2s^2}{N}$$ for $|s|\ll N$, where $s$ is the spin excess, which is related to the magnetization by $\mu_{tot} = 2sm$. Hint: Show that in this approximation $$S(U) = S_0 - k_B\frac{U^2}{2m^2B^2N},$$ with $S_0=k_B\log g(N,0)$. Further, show that $\frac1{kT} = -\frac{U}{m^2B^2N}$, where $U$ denotes $\langle U\rangle$, the thermal average energy.
• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

Problem

Einstein condensation temperature

Einstein condensation temperature Starting from the density of free particle orbitals per unit energy range \begin{align} \mathcal{D}(\varepsilon) = \frac{V}{4\pi^2}\left(\frac{2M}{\hbar^2}\right)^{\frac32}\varepsilon^{\frac12} \end{align} show that the lowest temperature at which the total number of atoms in excited states is equal to the total number of atoms is \begin{align} T_E &= \frac1{k_B} \frac{\hbar^2}{2M} \left( \frac{N}{V} \frac{4\pi^2}{\int_0^\infty\frac{\sqrt{\xi}}{e^\xi-1}d\xi} \right)^{\frac23} T_E &= \end{align} The infinite sum may be numerically evaluated to be 2.612. Note that the number derived by integrating over the density of states, since the density of states includes all the states except the ground state.

Note: This problem is solved in the text itself. I intend to discuss Bose-Einstein condensation in class, but will not derive this result.

• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

Small Group Activity

60 min.

Ice Calorimetry Lab
The students will set up a Styrofoam cup with heating element and a thermometer in it. They will measure the temperature as a function of time, and thus the energy transferred from the power supply, from which they compute changes in entropy.
• Found in: Ice Calorimetry Sequence sequence(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

Applying the equipartition theorem
Students count the quadratic degrees of freedom of a few toy molecules to predict their internal energy at temperature $T$.
• Found in: Contemporary Challenges course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

Heat capacity of N2
Students sketch the temperature-dependent heat capacity of molecular nitrogen. They apply the equipartition theorem and compute the temperatures at which degrees of freedom “freeze out.”
• Found in: Contemporary Challenges course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

Grey space capsule
In this small group activity, students work out the steady state temperature of an object absorbing and emitting blackbody radiation.
• Found in: Contemporary Challenges course(s)

Small Group Activity

30 min.

Black space capsule
In this activity, students apply the Stefan-Boltzmann equation and the principle of energy balance in steady state to find the steady state temperature of a black object in near-Earth orbit.
• Found in: Contemporary Challenges course(s)