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Unit Overview


This unit presents a macroscopic treatment of thermodynamics from an engineering perspective, beginning with definitions of properties, forms of energy and systems. The behaviour of ideal gases is discussed, along with the use of the compressibility factor. The 1st law of thermodynamics is applied to both open and closed systems, leading to the steady flow energy equation and the definition of enthalpy. The behaviour of liquid-vapour systems and use of property tables and charts are discussed. The 2nd law of thermodynamics, the property entropy, and the Carnot cycle are introduced. The 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics are then applied to typical thermodynamic systems, for example internal combustion engines, using models such as the Otto cycle, Diesel cycle, and Brayton cycle. Issues surrounding the use of such thermodynamic systems, for example fuel sources, thermal efficiency, pollution and emissions form part of this system analysis.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) interpret questions, problems and instructions written in the terminology of engineering thermodynamics; (2) define systems, types of energy, states of substances and properties; (3) apply the ideal gas equations, recognising their limitations; (4) retrieve appropriate data from thermodynamic property tables and charts; (5) analyse simple systems, steady-state processes and cycles using the 1st and 2nd Laws of thermodynamics; and (6) explain the social and environmental impact of typical thermodynamic systems.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) laboratory reports; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Angus Tavner
Unit rules
CITS1001 Software Engineering with Java
or CITX1001 Software Engineering with Java
or CITS2401 Computer Analysis and Visualisation
ENSC2001 Motion
or ENSC2004 Engineering Mechanics
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or MATX1011 Multivariable Calculus
Physics ATAR
or PHYS1030 Physics Bridging Unit
ENSC2002 Energy
Advisable prior study
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Contact hours
24 Lectures, 12 Problem classes, 10 hours of labs (5x2)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.