Skip to main content

SK1119 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics 7.5 credits

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK1119 (Spring 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Energy and heat
  • Gas laws
  • Thermodynamics 1st and 2nd main clause, entropy
  • Thermodynamic processes, the Carnot process, efficiency and figure of merits
  • Heat transport (radiation, convection, heat conduction)
  • Bose-Einstein, Fermi-Dirac and Maxwell-Boltzmann's distributions and different practical applications to these distributions (metals, semiconductor, radiation)
  • Partition function, state density
  • Free energy, enthalpy, Maxwell relations
  • Planet Earth as a thermodynamic system

Intended learning outcomes

The course gives the basic knowledge and skills within thermodynamics and statistical physics that an electrical engineer would need and that are required to enter a Master's programme within a physics related subject area. The students should be able to utilise their knowledge to solve basic, practically orientated, problems in the area.

On completion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • account for the concept of energy and how energy is stored and it is transferred between different forms during thermodynamic processes.
  • apply idealised thermodynamic processes (isochoric, isobaric, isothermal and adiabatic) both independently and as part of a thermodynamic cyclic process.
  • master thermodynamics the first and second laws and be able to utilise these in calculations of energy and entropy.
  • relate energy flow in thermodynamic circuit processes to the efficiency at engines and to the figure of merits of heat pumps and cooling engines and carry out calculations.
  • carry out calculations on heat transport problems (radiation, convection, heat conduction).
  • describe the connection between macroscopic thermodynamic units and statistical physics description of equivalent phenomenon.
  • apply statistical distributions within different relevant fields for an electrical engineer (for example metals/conductors, semiconductors, radiation).
  • be acquainted with basic concepts within statistical physics.
  • describe the thermodynamic aspects of sustainable development.
  • be familiar with simulations of physical problems.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

  • Basic physics (IF1603, SK1108)
  • Mathematical analysis in several variables (equivalent SF1626)
  • Statistics (Active participation in SF1920 Probability theory and statistics or equivalent)

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


No information inserted

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Approved grade on the written exam and project

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SK1119

Offered by

Main field of study


Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Martin Månsson (

Supplementary information

Replaces IF1614.