Module information on this degree can be found below, separated by year of study.

The module information below applies for the current academic year. The academic year runs from August to July; the 'current year' switches over at the end of July.

Students select optional courses subject to rules specified in the Mechanical Engineering Student Handbook,  for example at most three Design and Business courses. Please note that numbers are limited on some optional courses and selection criteria will apply.

Thermodynamics 2

Module aims

This module will develop an understanding of the principles of a variety of industrially-significant processes concerned with energy conversion and use, and of the design and operation of plant relying on those processes (including gas and steam turbines, boilers and heat exchangers, reciprocating engines, refrigeration and air-conditioning plant). It will develop an ability to make thermodynamic analyses of the processes involved and to select and apply rational performance criteria and parameters. Students will develop an awareness of the power and utility of thermodynamics in engineering design, both at the system and the component detail level, with recognition of the constraints imposed by materials, stressing, economics and the environment. The module provides basic knowledge and awareness to support 3rd and 4th year modules in the energy area.

ECTS units: 5

Learning outcomes

Recall the principles of design and operation of a variety of industrially-significant equipment concerned with energy conversion and use;

Describe the thermodynamics processes involved, using the appropriate terminology;

Identify appropriate parameters and criteria for assessing the performance of devices or processes;

Identify interactions between thermodynamics and other engineering disciplines in the design of components and systems;

Compare the performance of real plant with ideal models for several gas and vapour power cycles, refrigeration/heat pump cycles and gas liquefication processes;

Analyse processes involving ideal gas and gas-vapour mixtures, analytically and by use of psychrometric charts;

Use the laws of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics to make preliminary analyses and designs of axial-flow turbomachine states;

Determine the irreversibility and exergy change in processes involving turbomachines, heat exchangers, valves etc;

Account for chemical reactions in solving simple problems on combustion and demonstrate awareness of their environmental consequences;

Use a variety of measuring techniques for pressure, temperature, dryness fraction, humidity, flow rate, torque and power (met during laboratory investigations of the operation and performance of an air conditioning unit and a steam power plant);

Work effectively within a small group to plan, execute and communicate results from an experimental study.

Module syllabus

Power cycles and plant: internal and external combustion, closed and open cycles; Otto and Diesel cycles, elements of reciprocating engine performance; Joule cycle and simple gas turbine performance, qualitative treatment of recuperation, reheat and intercooling; Rankine cycle, simple steam powerplant performance, basic concepts of reheat and regenerative feed water heating; introduction to combined cycle plant and combined heat and power plant; relation between carbon dioxide emissions and thermal efficiency or energy utilisation factor.

Gas and gas-vapour mixtures: mixtures of ideal gases, the Gibbs-Dalton law; properties of ideal gas mixtures; mixtures of an ideal gas and a vapour (air-water); dew point, specific and relative humidities; use of psychrometric chart; application to air conditioning, cooling towers, product drying.

Refrigeration/heat pump/gas liquefaction cycles and plant: reminder of coefficient of performance; vapour-compression refrigeration/heat pump "ideal" cycles; selection of refrigerants; cycle performance and some practical modifications; outline of absorption cycles, gas cycles, thermoelectric refrigeration; gas liquefaction by cooling, cascade cycles, Joule-Thomson effect, inversion temperature, Linde process.

Turbomachinery: types of turbomachine (focusing on axial flow); 1st and 2nd laws applied to a stage, stagnation enthalpy, enthalpy-entropy diagrams for processes in stator and rotor rows; Euler turbomachine equation from momentum equation, velocity vector triangles; definitions of efficiency; degree of reaction and relationship to blade shape, selection of appropriate stage types; application to air compressors, gas and steam turbines.

Irreversibility, availability and exergy (excluding combustion): derivations of irreversibility, availability and exergy; significance for plant design; calculation of irreversibility (as environment temperature times entropy generated) and exergy change for turbo machines, heat exchangers etc.; simple illustrations of exergy loss distributions in a power plant as a guide to plant design.

Combustion: reactor of hydrocarbon fuels with oxygen or air, composition of reactant and product mixtures, stoichiometric mixtures, incomplete combustion, excess air, air/fuel ratio and equivalent specifications; enthalpy of formation; energy content of fuels, gross and net calorific values; energy balances (molar and mass-based forms) for combustion processes; adiabatic flame temperature (at constant pressure and at constant volume); combustion efficiency; carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions from combustion; application to boilers, gas turbine combustors etc.; third law and absolute entropy, second law analysis, irreversibility of combustion.



Teaching methods

Allocation of study hours  
Lectures 45
Group teaching 0
Lab/ practical 0
Other scheduled 0
Independent study 80
Total hours 125
ECTS ratio 25


Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Grading method Pass mark Must pass?
Examination Written Examination (1.5h, closed book)   Numeric 40%  

Module leaders

Dr Huizhi Wang