Introduction to the Thermodynamics of Materials
Author: David R. Gaskell
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Materials science - comprising metallurgy, polymer science and ceramics - is a versatile scientific discipline encompassing physics, chemistry and most engineering disciplines (including mechanical, chemical, electrical, aeronautical and civil). Therefore, it is imperative for any aspiring scientist/engineer to grasp the fundamentals of this discipline. In the field of physical metallurgy, thermodynamics of materials is one of the most important subject areas.
There are several books in print that cover or summarise the fundamentals of thermodynamics of materials; however, very few texts provide an in-depth analysis of this crucial subject area in the field of materials science. Although the other generic materials science texts that refer to thermodynamics cater for students who are not pursuing a straight materials science degree, this text, as noted by David Gaskell, is aimed uncompromisingly at materials science/engineering students or those who already have a grasp of the fundamentals of this discipline up to and beyond that covered in the first year of a bachelors degree course.
The text is somewhat user-friendly and chatty in its approach and perfectly complements other renowned "introduction to materials science" textbooks as further reading. However, students who are not familiar with the core fundamentals of the subject area or indeed who are not numerically proficient in pure maths will find the book very intimidating.
Gaskell provides an impressively in-depth insight into thermodynamics, including the laws of thermodynamics, heat capacity, enthalpy, entropy, phase equilibria, Gibbs free energy, binary systems and electrochemistry. The author cleverly utilises illustrations to simplify abstract and potentially complex theories.
Appropriate worked examples are provided to facilitate comprehension; additionally, an accompanying updated CD is included to help use specialist spreadsheet programmes as a computational thermodynamics tool. The CD contains a thermodynamic database, descriptive material and special programs showing how the Microsoft Excel program can be used to make thermodynamic calculations. As the book concentrates exclusively on the field of thermodynamics of materials at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate level, undergraduates should initially consult thermodynamics chapters from generic introductory materials science texts before tackling this textbook.
Nevertheless, the field of physical metallurgy is expertly dealt with; the book provides succinct yet comprehensive coverage of this area. Acquisition of the text is highly recommended for materials science students at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate level. Would I have bought this book if it were available while I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in materials science? Yes; in fact, I extensively used an earlier edition of this text.
Who is it for? This book is aimed at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the materials science discipline.
Presentation: The text is highly mathematical with numerous illustrations and worked examples to facilitate comprehension.
Would you recommend it? Definitely, as further reading beyond the first year of a bachelors degree course in materials science or metallurgy.