ECEN 4555/5555 – Principles of Energy Systems & Devices

Fall 2018 – MWF 3:00 – 3:50 pm, ECEE 265

Professor G. Moddel

Please check the announcements and schedule regularly – Last update: 21 Sep 2018


  • Video explaining irreversibility (thanks to Margaret Vader)


General Course Information



Individual issues








Aug 27

General introduction

Reading: Air-powered car and here and  here

Aug 29  Gas compression

Reading: Ch. 1

Aug 31  Heat capacity


Sep 3   Labor day. No class.

Sep 5   Enthalpy and thermal conductivity

HW1 due

Sep 7   Statistical approach

Reading:  Ch. 2


Sep 10   Elements of quantum mechanics

Reading: Appendix A

HW2 due

Sep 12  Never

Sep 14  Defining entropy


Sep 17 Temperature

Reading: Maxwell’s Demon, & start Ch. 3

HW3 due

Sep 19  Chemical potential & pressure

Reading: Ch. 3

Sep 21  Gas expansion


Sep 24

Reading: Ch. 4  Carnot cycle

steam engine

HW4 due

Sep 26  Internal combustion engines

Sep 28  Refrigerators


Oct 1

Absorption refrigerator

HW5 due

Oct 3  Joule-Thomson coefficient

Oct 5   Electrolysis & fuel cells

Reading: 5.1-5.2 Chemical thermodynamics; fuel cell power pack


Oct 8

Reading (skim to understand main issues and types of storage);

Batteries & electrochemical capacitors

HW6 due

Oct 10

A better lithium-ion battery  more here

Oct 12

Reading: 5.3 through p. 179 Phase transformations

Power from osmosis


Oct 15

Optional reading: Structure of water versus this

If intrigued, watch this
HW7 due

Oct 17  Coexistence

Oct 19  Rain

Reading: Gaia and cloud seeding


Oct 22

Midterm Exam  Covers material through HW7

Formula sheet that will be handed out is here

Oct 24  Boltzmann factor

Reading: Ch. 6 (can omit pp. 232-241) Boltzmann factor and the

 partition function

Oct 26  Partition function


Oct 29
HW8 due

Oct 31

Reading: Ch. 7.1-7.2 Gibbs factor & distribution functions

Nov 2


Nov 5  Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions

HW9 due

Nov 7  Degenerate Fermi gas

Reading: Ch. 7.3 (can omit pp. 283-284) Electrons in solids

Nov 9  Density of states


Nov 12  Semiconductor statistics

Required reading (in reading, tau = kT)

HW10 due

Nov 14

Nov 16


Nov 19

Fall break. No class.                

Nov 21

Fall break. No class.

Nov 23

Thanksgiving. No class.


Nov 26

HW11 due

Nov 28

Reading: Ch. 7.4 Blackbody radiation

Nov 30

Optional reading: Fractional bandwidth normalizaation


Dec 3  Radiation entropy & pressure; arrow of time

HW12 due

Dec 5  Radiation flux, detailed balance

The origin of color

Dec 7  Greenhouse effect

Optional reading: Harvesting radiant energy from

the Earth


Dec 10  Psi and thermodynamics

Optional readings: Stock market prediction

Entropy & retrocausation

HW13 due

Dec 12   Dualism in physical law or Zero-point energy extraction

Optional reading:  Zero-point energy extraction 

     non-technical article    full paper

Also video: New Energy Technologies: What Can We Believe?

Dec 14


Dec 18 (Tuesday) 

Final exam: 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm