Research Skills

  • Develop model-thinking and quantitative-estimation skills for thermal energy services.
  • Propose mathematical models appropriate to these questions
  • Describe how data would be used in these models
  • Describe how the result would be interpreted to make a better decision
  • Apply these ideas to carbon-reduction opportunities at SSU

Working Skills

  • Develop time management habits that promote learning of difficult material
  • Develop habits that support the consistent production of quality work

Introduction and Context

  • Describe the importance of thermal energy in the context of climate and energy

Thermal Concepts

  • Distinguish between heat, temperature, and energy
  • Convert relative and absolute temperatures between Celsius, Fahrenheit, Rankine, and Kelvin
  • Describe physical mechanisms of conduction, convection, and radiation.


  • Use sensible heat to estimate energy to heat an object
  • Use sensible heat to estimate energy transfer from one body to another
  • Describe processes that use convection in nature and the built environment
  • Describe and estimate sensible heat capacity
  • Describe and estimate latent heat capacity


  • Calculate the power emitted by a heated object
  • Describe radiation and emission mechanisms in nature and the built environment


  • Describe factors influencing the rate of thermal conduction
  • Use mathematical models to predict power and energy conducted based on dimensions and properties
  • Describe processes that use conduction in nature and the built environment
  • Convert thermal conduction quantities between english and metric unit systems.
  • Describe and use Newtons law of cooling
  • Able to calculate R and U values for a given insulating structure


  • Use circuit models to describe heat
  • Draw analogies between thermal and electrical circuits
  • Use circuit models to describe conductive heat flow in physical systems
  • Calculate energy and heat delivered by electrical systems given voltage and current


  • Describe the implications of the zeroth, first, and second laws of thermodynamics.
  • Use Carnot's equation to estimate performance of heat engines and refrigerators.
  • Able to describe the dimensions and units of thermal quantities.


  • Relate slopes and areas from digital measurement to thermal quantities, energy, and power
  • Able to create and communicate reproducible models and calculations of energy quantities.

Midterm 2 covers above only.

Combustion and Carbon Emissions

  • Estimate the energy and carbon required for a given energy service.
  • Estimate the energy and carbon released by burning a given volume of a fossil fuel.