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What's the best books to understand the basic laws of thermodynamics and other things such as enthalpy, Carnot's cycle, entropy, Maxwell equations etc?

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In my judgment, Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics by Moran et al is an excellent book, especially in its coverage of the difficult-to-learn subject of the 2nd law of thermodynamics and entropy. Another good book is Introduction to Engineering Thermodynamics by Smith and Van Ness.

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I highly recommend Schroeder: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Thermal-Physics-Daniel-Schroeder/dp/0201380277. This book is a nice introduction and provides excellent physical intuition, but it does not skimp on the mathematics as well. It is also fairly self-contained and does not assume more than multivariable calculus and elementary mechanics.

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I recommend Cengal and Boles. It is how I learned the basic principles of thermodynamics, and it is a pretty good text for going into the first and second laws, the different ideal cycles (Carnot, Brayton, Otto, Rankine, etc.), as well as refrigeration. Good luck with your studies!

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