ME 209 — Basic Thermodynamics

Description: Basic Thermodynamics will give you a very broad idea of thermal-mass interaction and how many simple phenomena that we observe around us are physically explained. This course is primarily intended to strengthen the weak links and build on the thermodynamics concepts you would have “mugged” for your JEE.

Course Contents: The course covers most of the concepts that would be taught in Basic Thermodynamics in any institution across the globe. While most of the instructors for this course should stick to the outline in general, the contents may be slightly tweaked as per his (/her) interests and time constraints, with mutual consent of the students.

The general outline of this course is as follows:

  • Systems: Interaction with surroundings, properties, classification, Equilibrium
  • Units and dimensions, Conversion factors
  • Work: Thermodynamic definition and characteristics
  • Adiabatic systems and processes
  • First Law of Thermodynamics
  • Zeroth law of Thermodynamics; Empirical temperature and Principles of Thermometry
  • Ideal gas approximation, equation of state, Van der Waal’s Gas Equation
  • Properties of steam, steam tables
  • Open systems and application of First Law: General form and special cases
  • Second Law of Thermodynamics: Kelvin-Planck and Clausius statements, Carnot theorem, Carnot engine, Thermodynamic Kelvin scale
  • Clausius inequality and entropy: principle and evaluation
  • Second law for closed and open systems; Availability and Exergy

Motivation: Irrespective of your specialization, you will keep encountering thermodynamics in its several avatars. Besides the regular TFE courses, you will also come across applications of thermodynamics in manufacturing processes and design simulations.

Since this course is “basic”, it does not provide you with any end product, but it is an essential prerequisite for all the “advanced” courses and applications you are going to come across, directly and indirectly. However, some courses which have this course as an immediate prerequisite are:

  • ME 346- Heat Transfer
  • ME 306- Applied Thermodynamics
  • ME 350- Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  • ME 403- IC Engines
  • ME 406- Steam and Gas Turbines
  • ME 623/683- Cryogenic Engineering I and II
  • ME 661- Advanced Thermodynamics

Useful resources:
While it is a good practice to refer to textbooks or video lectures besides your class notes, it is also important to remember that these sources may not be flawless. Reference material should only be used as a tool to strengthen concepts and not as a substitute for your class notes.


  • Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics – Moran & Shapiro (can be used as a course text book)
  • Fundamentals of Thermodynamics,Sonntag, Borgnakke, Van Wylen, 6th Edition, Wiley
  • Thermodynamics: an Engineering Approach, Y.A.Cengal and M.A.Boles, McGraw Hill (Fifth edition).

Internet Resources:

Interesting Links:

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