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ERIC Number: EJ1003188
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Teaching Differentials in Thermodynamics Using Spatial Visualization
Wang, Chih-Yueh; Hou, Ching-Han
Journal of Chemical Education, v89 n12 p1522-1525 Dec 2012
The greatest difficulty that is encountered by students in thermodynamics classes is to find relationships between variables and to solve a total differential equation that relates one thermodynamic state variable to two mutually independent state variables. Rules of differentiation, including the total differential and the cyclic rule, are fundamental to solving thermodynamics problems. However, many students do not understand such basic mathematics principles because ordinary calculus and thermodynamics textbooks do not provide specific geometric explanations for the differential rules. Spatial visualization allows students to develop a new line of reasoning. In this investigation, the total differential rule and the cyclic rule are interpreted geometrically. (Contains 5 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A