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Abstract Title: Expert reasoning about independent and dependent variables in thermodynamics
Abstract: Thermodynamic potentials (or free energies) are different energies of the same system that use different sets of independent variables. The flexibility to consider one system in multiple ways is powerful, but deciding which variables to treat as independent–and therefore, which thermodynamic potential to use–is challenging for students. As part of a larger study investigating student reasoning about independent variables in thermodynamics, we interviewed five thermodynamics experts to learn how they make decisions about independent variables for selecting a thermodynamic potential. This poster outlines the variety of approaches these experts used to determine what variables were independent in a given situation. In particular, we examine discrepancies in use and understanding of language among experts.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C89
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Michael Vignal
Oregon State University
301 Weniger Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: 2535796293
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Elizabeth Gire, Oregon State University