Preparation for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO): Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

The IPhO Syllabus includes:

2.7 Thermodynamics and statistical physics
  • 2.7.1 Classical thermodynamics: Concepts of thermal equilibrium and reversible pro­cesses; internal energy, work and heat; Kelvin's tem­perature scale; entropy; open, closed, isolated systems; first and second laws of thermodynamics. Kinetic the­ory of ideal gases: Avogadro number, Boltzmann factor and gas constant; translational motion of molecules and pressure; ideal gas law; translational, rotational and os­cillatory degrees of freedom; equipartition theorem; in­ternal energy of ideal gases; root-mean-square speed of molecules. Isothermal, isobaric, isochoric, and adiabatic processes; specific heat for isobaric and isochoric pro­cesses; forward and reverse Carnot cycle on ideal gas and its efficiency; efficiency of non-ideal heat engines.
  • 2.7.2 Heat transfer and phase transitions: Phase transitions (boiling, evaporation, melting, subli­mation) and latent heat; saturated vapour pressure, rel­ative humidity; boiling; Dalton's law; concept of heat conductivity; continuity of heat flux.
  • 2.7.3 Statistical physics: Planck's law (explained qualitatively, does not need to be remembered), Wien's displacement law; the Stefan- Boltzmann law.
Members of the Spanish National Team can download the notes here:
Some cognitive conflicts involving Thermodynamis and Statistical Physics:
It is also useful to follow the IPhO's Study Guide by Jaan Kalda:
Here you can find the solutions to some of the problems:

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