MSE Master of Science in Engineering

The Swiss engineering master's degree

Each module contains 3 ECTS. You choose a total of 10 modules/30 ECTS in the following module categories: 

  • 12-15 ECTS in technical scientific modules (TSM)
    TSM modules teach profile-specific specialist skills and supplement the decentralised specialisation modules.
  • 9-12 ECTS in fundamental theoretical principles modules (FTP)
    FTP modules deal with theoretical fundamentals such as higher mathematics, physics, information theory, chemistry, etc. They will teach more detailed, abstract scientific knowledge and help you to bridge the gap between abstraction and application that is so important for innovation.
  • 6-9 ECTS in context modules (CM)
    CM modules will impart additional skills in areas such as technology management, business administration, communication, project management, patent law, contract law, etc.

In the module description (download pdf) you find the entire language information per module divided into the following categories:

  • instruction
  • documentation
  • examination 
Advanced Thermodynamics (TSM_AdvTherm)

In Part A this module reviews the subjects of basic engineering thermodynamics (energy, entropy and material balances, fluid properties, and important thermodynamic cycles) and extends knowledge to deal with real fluids, phase and chemical equilibria, system stability, and processes with chemical transformation.

Additionally, in Part B the students will learn to draw connections between detailed, thermodynamic formulae and full thermodynamic systems. The basic tools of thermodynamics (balances of conservative quantities) will be employed to model any complex, thermodynamic system. Selected examples will illustrate the utility of applying thermodynamics in various practical fields.


Successful completion of  a bachelor degree course on basic engineering thermodynamics

Learning Objectives

Part A:
The achievement of the main goals in Part A is associated with the following competencies:

  • Ability to set up and solve energy and entropy balances for open and closed thermodynamic systems.
  • Ability to determine the properties of non-ideal gases and gas mixtures using corresponding states and/or a cubic equation of state.
  • Understanding the Gibbs free energy and chemical potential and to be able to calculate conditions for thermal, phase and chemical equilibrium.

Part B:

  • Intensify the understanding of some areas from Part A, by applying the gained knowledge in terms of model building of dynamic systems (e.g.: chemically reacting systems, irreversible levelling processes)
  • Understand examples of how Advanced Thermodynamics is applied in practice (modeling of complex thermo-chemical processes, e.g. wood gasification, Richardson Ellingham diagram, analysis of cycle processes)

Contents of Module

Part A:
Part A starts with a review of basic principles, conservation equations for mass, energy and entropy and their application. Important thermodynamic cycles are analyzed and the Gibbs Free Energy is introduced. The interrelations between thermodynamic variables are introduced and used as the basis for calculating deviations from ideal gas behavior using a cubic equation of state. The necessity for partial molar properties to describe real mixtures is shown and the chemical potential is introduced. Conditions for phase and chemical equilibrium are derived and employed in simple systems.

Weekly problem sets dealing with the topics are distributed and solutions discussed with the class.

Part B:
Part B starts with the repetition and consolidation of selected fields from part A by transferring the knowledge to application via modelling thermodynamic systems. Introducing and using a System Dynamic methodology (supported by the software Berkeley Madonna, to model interacting systems (e.g.: chemically reacting species, irreversible levelling), two goals are achieved:

  • Students get a visualized impression of dependencies
  • Students can connect detailed formulae with a large scale system overview.

As part B progresses, application examples from practice are presented:

  • The structure of modern thermodynamic equilibrium solvers in the context of modelling complex thermo-chemical processes (e.g. wood gasification)
  • The Richardson Ellingham, its connection to the learned content and its wide spread application within metallurgy
  • Analysis of basic and more advanced cycle processes (e.g.: Diesel cycle, Stirling cycle)

The thermodynamic basics of chemical reactor engineering (heat-, mass balancing in tank- and tube reactors, reaction- and flame temperatures) are discussed as well.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures with discussion, Interactive derivations on blackboard, supported by PPT slides, weekly problem sets with solutions. In Part A some exercises will be solved using Matlab and/or Excel software.  In Part B exercises require the System Dynamic software Berkeley Madonna. Trial versions (sufficient for the course) available online for free.


Sandler, S.I..(1940). Chemical and Engineering Thermodynamics, 1989, ISBN 978-0-471-66174-0

Dunn I.J., et., al. (2003). Appendix: Using the Berkeley Madonna Language, in Biological Reaction Engineering: Dynamic Modelling Fundamentals with Simulation Examples. 2003, Doi: 10.1002/3527603050.app1

Boiger, G., (2014). System Dynamic modeling approach for resolving the thermo-chemistry of wood gasification. Int. J. Mult. Ph. 2015.

Download full module description