Last Updated S022021


Unit Name Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
Unit Code MPE503
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Master of Engineering (Chemical and Process)

Duration 2 years    

Graduate Certificate in Chemical and Process Engineering

Duration 6 months

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Mode of Delivery Online
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

Thermodynamics is a central branch of science that examines energy and its manifestations, specifically the driving forces of energy exchange and the conditions on which they exist. The main concern is with the amount of energy transfer – in the form of heat or work – which will take place in a system as it undergoes a change from one state to another or from one form to another; there is no indication about how long the process itself will take.

Heat transfer, is a branch of science that utilises the framework laid down by the Laws of Thermodynamics. It relates specifically to heat energy and how heat is transferred from one body to another.

Heat can only be transferred when a temperature gradient exists in a system, and this gradient itself is an indication of non-equilibria phenomena. In heat transfer, there is a requirement to know the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of the heat energy redistribution, hence, the rate of heat energy transfer within a process is critical.

An understanding of thermodynamics and heat transfer is central to ensuring good process design and safe operation. Separation processes are driven by the principles of heat transfer and Vapour Liquid Equilibria (VLE), knowledge of heating and cooling systems and related equipment is key to this work, hence, these and other areas will be examined in detail throughout this unit and at the conclusion, students will have been enabled to comprehend and effectively utilise these two branches of science that underpin all process engineering operations.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the conceptual and physical properties of thermodynamics and heat transfer processes.
  2. Interpret and apply in design the concepts of irreversibility, entropy, and heat cycles.
  3. Effectively utilise VLE and Liquid Equilibria (LLE) conditions.
  4. Define and apply in design the heat transfer principles including boundary systems.
  5. Distinguish between the different types of heat transfer equipment with a focus on heat exchangers and furnaces.
  6. Investigate practical industrial problems so as to apply the Laws of Thermodynamics and heat transfer equations to obtain effective and efficient solutions.

Student assessment


Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)


(% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test

Word length: n/a

Topic: Fundamental concepts of thermodynamics [This topic could change as determined by the lecturer].

Week 6


1, 2, 3

Assessment 2

Type: Report (Midterm Project)

[This will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, and methodology / conclusions]

Word length: 2000

Topic: Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. [Design an industrial process that is centred on the principles of thermodynamics and heat exchange. This process is to utilise heat transfer equipment (Concept Design)]

Week 9


4, 5, 6

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final Project)

[If a continuation of the midterm, this should complete the report by adding sections on: methodology, implementation / evaluation, verification / validation, conclusion / challenges and recommendations / future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]

Word length: 4000

Topic: Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer – Advanced Development. [Further develop the industrial process that was designed in Assessment 2. The design should be centred on the principles of thermodynamics and heat exchange, particularly addressing irreversibility, entropy, heat cycles, and boundary systems. This process is to utilise heat transfer equipment (Detailed Design)].

Possible to use Aspen ONE software.

Week 12


1 – 6

Practical Participation (online/simulation)

To be determined by the lecturer.



2, 4




1 – 6

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook(s)

Cengel and Boles, Engineering Thermodynamics, 2nd edition, McGraw Hill. (ISBN 10: 0071152474 ⁄ISBN 13: 9780071152471)

John H Lienhard IV, John H Lienhard V, A Heat Transfer Textbook – 4th Ed, Phlogiston Press, 2015. ( Note: This e-book can be freely downloaded by students for personal use, this link may change in the future, please check the link in a search engine prior to use.

Reference Materials

The details of a number of useful, peer-reviewed journals, websites, and other references are provided below:

  1. Smith, J.M., van Ness, H.C., Abott, M.M., Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, 5th edition (or later), McGraw Hill
  2. Massoud M., Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, Springer, 2005. (ISBN: 978-3-540-22292-7)Chemical Engineering Guidebook, ePDF – Tutorial style articles focusing on monitoring pressure in chemical process environment, selecting and operating pressure-relief valves etc.
  3. Mills, A. F. Basic Heat and Mass Transfer. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. (ISBN: 9780130962478)
  4. Cengel, Y. A. Heat Transfer: A Practical Approach. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2002. (ISBN: 9780072458930)
  5. Baehr, H. D., and K. Stephan. Heat and Mass Transfer. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1998. (ISBN: 9783540636953)
  6. Robert Browning, Too cool: Optimisation of heat exchangers for process cooling, Hydrocarbon Engineering, April 2016
  7. Other material to be advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

The Laws of Thermodynamics

  1. Revising definitions and concepts
  2. Applications of the First Law of Thermodynamics
  3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
  4. The Third Law of Thermodynamics
  5. Reversibility and irreversibility
  6. The thermodynamic temperature scale


Topic 2


  1. What is entropy
  2. Increase in entropy principle
  3. Entropy change of pure substances
  4. Diagrams
  5. TdS relationships
  6. Irreversibility and availability


Topic 3

Power and Refrigeration Cycles

  1. Carnot Cycle
  2. Assumptions
  3. Overview of reciprocating engines
  4. Otto Cycle
  5. Diesel Cycle
  6. Brayton Cycle
  7. Rankine Cycle
  8. Deviation between actual and ideal cycles
  9. Efficiency
  10. Refrigerators and heat pumps
  11. Heat pump systems

Topic 4 & 5

Gas Mixtures, Psychrometry and Solution Thermodynamics

  1. PVT behaviour of ideal and real gases
  2. Psychrometry
  3. Humidification and de-humidification
  4. Design of cooling towers
  5. Phase equilibria and chemical potential
  6. Partial properties
  7. Ideal gas mixtures
  8. Fugacity, fugacity coefficient
  9. Ideal solution and excess properties
  10. Applications of solution thermodynamics
  11. Vapour Liquid Equilibria (VLE) at low to moderate pressure
  12. Phase rule
  13. Dewpoint and bubble point calculations
  14. Flash calculations
  15. Solute and solvent systems
  16. Properties of fluids from Virial Equations of State

Topic 6


  1. LLE
  2. VLLE
  3. Chemical reaction equilibrium
  4. Thermodynamic analysis of processes

Topic 7

Heat Conduction

  1. Simple one-dimensional problems
  2. Equivalent thermal network
  3. Network resistance for heat-boundary conditions
  4. Multilayer plane walls
  5. Thermal contact resistance
  6. Transient and multi-dimensional heat conduction


Topic 8 & 9

Heat Convection

  1. Dimensionless numbers used in heat transfer
  2. Laminar and turbulent boundary layers
  3. Forced and natural convection
  4. Forced convection analysis

Topic 10

Heat Transfer in Boiling and Other Phase-Change Configurations

  1. Nukiyama’s experiment and the pool boiling curve
  2. Nucleate boiling
  3. Film boiling
  4. Transition boiling and system influences
  5. Forced convection in tubes
  6. Forced convection and condensation heat transfer
  7. Dropwise condensation
  8. The heat pipe

Topic 11

Heat Radiation

  1. Thermal radiation - Blackbody
  2. Planck’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Law
  3. Wien’s Displacement Law
  4. View factor relations
  5. Radiation functions
  6. Radiation and total radiation properties
  7. Radiation shape factor
  8. Directional radiation properties
  9. Heat transfer among grey bodies

Topic 12

Heat Exchangers

  1. Log mean temperature difference
  2. Overall heat transfer coefficient
  3. Fouling factor
  4. Analysis of heat exchangers
  5. The Similitude Principle
  6. Dynamic similarity
  7. Dimensionless parameters

Project and Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues.  Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialised topic if applicable to that cohort.

Software/Hardware Used


  •  Additional resources or files: N/A


  • Hardware: N/A