A Matlab program for the determination of thermodynamic properties of steam

Riley M. Gourde, Ben Akih-Kumgeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An introductory course in thermodynamics seeks to acquaint students with the laws of thermodynamics and to enable them to analyze energy transformations in various engineering systems. The latter requires knowledge of temperature and possibly pressure-dependent thermodynamic properties of the materials involved. These are often made available to students in tabular or graphical form. This work presents a computer program that allows for a more convenient determination of thermodynamic properties of steam at a given state. The MATLAB graphical user interface is based on correlations of the properties from a published source. The development process presents a learning opportunity for the student involved and the various equations and program structure are documented in a user manual that allows the user to gain further insight into the computer-generated thermodynamic data. The program is evaluated by comparing predicted values of thermodynamic properties with the corresponding values from thermodynamic tables and it is found that the quantities are generally well predicted to within an average difference of less than a percent. It is further demonstrated how the program can be used to solve a textbook problem on the Rankine cycle. This program has the potential to enrich the learning experience in thermodynamic classes for chemical and mechanical engineering students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-244
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Thermodynamics
  • chemical engineering
  • computer-based learning
  • physical properties
  • thermal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mechanical Engineering


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