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Th e concept of a series of books entitled Commonly Asked Questions in . . . is inherently attractive in an educational context, an industrial context, or even a research context. Th is is, of course, at least in part because the idea of a tutorial on a topic to be studied and understood provides a means of seeking personal advice and tuition on special elements of the topic that cannot be understood through the primary medium of

education. Th e primary means can be a lecture, a text book, or a practical demonstration.

Equally the motivation for the study can be acquisition of an undergraduate degree, professional enhancement, or the development of a knowledge base beyond one’s initial field to advance a technical project or a research activity. Th us, the spectrum of motivations and the potential readership is rather large and at very diff erent levels of experience. As the authors have developed this book, they have become acutely aware that this is especially the case for thermodynamics and thermophysics. The subjects of thermodynamics and thermophysics play a moderate role in every other discipline of science from the nanoscale to the cosmos and astrophysics with biology and life sciences in between.

Furthermore, while some aspects of thermodynamics underpin the very fundamentals of these subjects, others aspects of thermodynamics have an impact on almost every application in engineering. In consequence, the individuals who may have questions about thermodynamics and its applications encompass most of the world’s scientists and engineers at different levels of activity ranging from the undergraduate to the research frontier. Th e task of writing a single text that attempts to answer all questions that might arise from this group of people and this

range of disciplines is evidently impossible, partly because only one section of the text is likely to be of use to most people, and partly because the sheer extent of the knowledge available in this subject would be beyond the scope of the book. We have therefore not attempted to write such a comprehensive text. We have instead been selective about the areas and disciplines we have decided to concentrate on:

thermodynamics as opposed to thermophysics, chemical thermodynamics in particular, with a focus on chemists, chemical engineers, and mechanical engineers. Of course, this focus represents the bias of the authors’ own backgrounds but this also covers the content required by a large number of those who will wish to make use of the material. In addition, the nature of the subject is such that even within the limited scope we have

set, we have not always been able to be deductive and take a rigorous pedagogical approach. Th us in some sections the reader will find references to substantive texts devoted entirely to topics that we merely sketch.