Physics 112: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Text: An Introduction to Thermal Physics by Daniel Schroeder

Chapter 4: Engines and Refrigerators

Stirling Hot Air Engine
The Stirling engine is an example of a heat engine that converts heat into mechanical motion. It does through the cycling compression and expansion of gas in the two cylinders. One cylinder is heated with a flame and the other is cooled by a heat sink. The cool cylinder will contract as heat is transferred to the heat sink and the air will fill the heated cylinder. The gas will expand and will once again fill the cool cylinder.

Hero’s Engine
This is another demonstration of how to convert thermal energy into mechanical. A special glass container filled with water is placed over a bunsen burner. Two glass tubes coming out of the sides of the container direct the steam coming out of the container in such a way as to spin the container on its axis.

Chapter 5: Free Energy and Chemical Thermodynamics

Triple Point of Water
This demonstration shows the triple point of water using a large vacuum chamber and a small dish of cold water. Requires 10-15 minute prep prior to demonstration and presence of current Demo Room manager or other qualified staff member.

Curie Point
This demonstration shows that at its Curie temperature (achieved by using a blowtorch), a chunk of iron will lose its magnetic properties. Conversely, as it cools it will re-magnetize.