Thermodynamics II

Philippe Sautet

Thermodynamics II

Chemical Engineering department

Philippe Sautet

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Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.0
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.6
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.7
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.0
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 2.4
Helpful
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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Needs Textbook
  • Appropriately Priced Materials

Grades

Spring 2020
42.7%
35.6%
28.4%
21.3%
14.2%
7.1%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2019
25.0%
20.8%
16.7%
12.5%
8.3%
4.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Spring 2017
26.3%
21.9%
17.5%
13.1%
8.8%
4.4%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted June 12, 2020
Grade Received: A

Standard disclaimer: I took the class during the COVID-19 pandemic, so everything was online. That meant that homework was not collected, and that the quizzes were not in person (nor were they proctored). Other than that, we also had an extra generous grading scheme: either 40% midterm, 20% final, 20% quiz, and 20% project or 20% midterm, 40%final, and the same for the rest. Normally it’s a 30%/30% split between midterm and final.

Besides that, Sautet’s class was not terrible, but definitely not good. Sautet himself seems like a decent, chill guy, but it’s clear he lectures because UCLA told him to lecture for this class. As stated previously, lectures are live readings of the textbook. At least Sautet sort-of digests the book for you and tells you what’s important or not.

About half the homework is algebra and algebraic derivations, 20% is numerical stuff to do by hand, and the rest of the homework requires MATLAB or a graphing calculator. Unless the homework is mandatory, there’s no reason to do HW problems that require MATLAB; it won’t ever be tested. This means that homework should only take about 2-3 hours/week.

Next, almost every exam question, for both the midterm and final will be from the book. Copied verbatim. Guess what? That means do book problems, especially the unassigned problems. Focus on the algebra-based stuff and the stuff you can do by hand/with a graphing calculator.

Even worse (or to some, better) Sautet reuses midterm problems from previous years. He likely does the same for finals. So if you can, get you hands on old exams, and study those especially. They’ll definitely help you focus your studies.

Finally, the MATLAB final assignment is just terrible. Utterly terrible. It felt unnecessarily long and tedious. Granted, it’s more applicable to real life than 90% of the class, but still just a horrible experience. You can sum it up like this:

Step 1: Look in the book’s algorithms for solving equilibria problems.
Step 2: Try to decipher the book’s notation.
Step 3: Try to implement the algorithms.
Step 4: Spend 20+ hours debugging your code and hope your classmates can help you debug your code.

However, if you collaborate with others the project should be a free A.

This class isn’t horrible, and certainly better than others. But ultimately, something you just get done and over with.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 30, 2019 Grade Received: B-

If you're taking this class, read the damned book. Like, right now.

You're essentially going to have one of two experiences in the class:

a) The material is amongst the hardest stuff you'll learn in your ChemE career, requiring pages of proofs complete with out-of-the blue assumptions. There are thousands (no exaggeration) of equations and you must have all of these cryptic orderings of numbers, symbols, and greek letters neatly organized in your head in order to make sense of the problem.

b) The class was merely *very* time-consuming.

I had both experiences because I only learned the trick to get (b) AFTER the first midterm, hence my grade (2 exams, each is 40%).

The trick is to read the book and do all the problems. That's it.

Sautet is an alright dude. His life doesn't revolve around teaching. Light-hearted enough. Not very helpful in office hours. Not *truly* a professor of thermodynamics. Just another engineer UCLA slapped with a textbook and said, "Teach this class." As such, he teaches fucking *verbatim* from the book. Lecture is basically a live-reading of the book. If you value lecture, I highly recommend opening up the book while he lectures so you can go in depth about anything you don't get... plus you won't have to take notes since not a single thing he writes isn't in the book.

That's alright and all, but the anomaly comes from the fact that *almost every problem in the test is a cut and paste from the book.* This is invaluable knowledge. The quizzes are the same, but this is made clear by Sautet. The secret is that the exams are the same as quizzes except it can be ANY problem from the learned chapters.

As you can guess, you can guarantee an A+ in the class by doing all the problems. However... this doesn't trivialize the material. It's hard shit any way you cut it. Book authors know it and mention it numerous times, Sautet knows it since he cannot answer any question beyond the scope of the book, and finding correct answers to the problems is fairly rare. Correct answers require usage of equation 3.112 in tandem with equation 5.3 and a slight assumption of your situation in order to answer part a of problem 8.91. It's impossibly difficult to just prop open the book and answer everything easily. You'll need a source for your answers (I used Chegg) and even then I found ~35% of the answers to be incomplete or wrong. Some sources don't even bother to answer all the questions (there's a pdf floating around with ~60% of the answers)

But if you make the effort and complete some 400 thermodynamics problems (each of which can take anywhere from 5 minutes to nearly an hour to answer) you'll get an A. Perhaps that's not even necessary, as I'll admit that I started to answer the problems on my own after the first 20 or so in each chapter. I only learned to do all the problems after I got a low C on the first exam. I read the chapters, studied my lecture notes and did the homeworks. In truth, all of that was a waste of time. If I had spent all that time doing all the *unassigned* problems, I would have done much better. I salvaged myself into a B by doing about half of the problems in the book for the final exam (that's all I had time for...)

Another helpful hint is to anticipate which problems are good exam questions. "Why wouldn't limestone decompose well under 400K and 1 bar?" is not a good exam question--it's too open ended. "Predict the equilibrium constant of this rxn @ 400K and 1 bar where the Gibbs free energy is xyz" IS a good exam question. Proofs are also fair game.

***tl;dr*** Do all the problems in the book, and do this early.

Project-wise, I highly recommend at least learning how to implement functions and nested loops in MATLAB. You're SOL otherwise. The actual coding isn't too hard, but making sense of the project is the time-eater. Don't waste your time learning MATLAB while this stuff is due. Know the basics, read the book (you guessed it, the project spec is verbatim from the book), and most importantly, look at the book examples. Code using the book's given example statement FIRST to debug your program and THEN input Sautet's numbers. And for the love of god, pay attention to the units. The book switches very fucking often between units and that lost me a lot of time.

Sorry for the lengthy review, but I honestly want to break this class. If enough people read this and get perfect exam scores, maybe UCLA will be forced to actually teach thermo. I won't say I didn't learn anything, but it was just needlessly hard and needlessly lazy teaching. I do not blame Sautet as he's a cool guy, but this class needs to be reworked. The extra credit problem asked about what fugacity even *means* which was something we worked with all quarter. We never went over the physical meaning of it in class and I luckily looked it up on Quora out of curiosity.

Overall though, it ain't so bad. The resources to learn are there and that's more than I can say for some other classes in the department. 3/5.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2020
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Submitted July 6, 2020
Grade Received: A+

I took this class spring 2020 online. To do well you must do two things, First read the textbook, all of it. The textbook is 100 times better teacher than he is. Second memorize how to do the assigned HW problems so you can get 100% on each weekly quiz. Third get past exams he reuses questions so you will do above average if you can find an old exam. There is a MATLAB project that sucks you will just have to power through and complete that. Also this is an all math based class so don't except any chem knowledge to be at all useful.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 8, 2019 Grade Received: B-

Sautet is unfortunately really bad at explaining concepts and the rationale behind the ridiculous amount of equations he puts on the board and derives. This really makes it hard to really grasp any sort of intuitive understanding of the subject, especially since Sautet doesn't explain any examples in class, meaning that the homework problems rely on your own ability to hit that understanding. The TAs try their best but it's rather difficult for them to do the explaining of the examples as well since Sautet assigns them. The MATLAB final project is ridiculously convoluted and difficult - not to mention that some students have not taken MATLAB yet. The tests are also rather difficult - the problems not necessarily the same as the type done in homework.
Overall - difficult and confusing class, though Sautet is a nice guy, he just isn't very good at explaining.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 15, 2019 Grade Received: P

ah ah ah

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 26, 2018 Grade Received: A-

This class is all homework based. If you can do the all the homework, you'll do fine on the quizzes (they're exact copies of hw questions). The midterm and final are very heavily based on the hw, with a question or two that's new. Do the homework in groups and make sure you can duplicate your answers.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 25, 2018 Grade Received: A

Sautet was fine. He’s like your stereotypical professor. Foreign guy reading straight from the book. But he was pretty nice. You could have learned straight from the book (making his lectures irrelevant), which is why the class was almost always empty. We had weekly quizzes which were easy because it was just one randomly selected problem from your weekly problem set. We had one midterm, which was quite easy, as all of the problems were from the back of the book. The material wasn’t that hard, but at the same time it wasn’t that interesting, making this a very meh class. I was actually quite worried after taking the final. It wasn’t hard, as It was all from the book, except for one problem they made up. The material wasn’t that hard, but I just blanked on some of them. The problem that they made up I literally had no idea how to do and just put a bunch of equations hoping to get partial credit. I also messed up my units on the first part of a 10 part or something question, and I thought that they wouldn’t have considered propagation of error, but it turned out alright. Overall, 5 questions on the final, I only knew how to do one of them perfectly, even though I had seen everything in the book already. I just kind of memorized instead of really trying to learn the material, which is not good, but I’m not really going to need this later, so oh well. Oh, and the project. It was alright. TA’s weren’t really helpful, but it was manageable. 10% weekly quizzes, 10% project, 40% midterm, 40% final. I think I only got an A because I got near perfect on the midterm because I’m pretty sure I tanked that final. Oh well. You can’t choose your professors for ChemE, so if you get him, he’s an alright guy. Neither great nor horrible.

Oh and one last thing! He passed back midterms and was like “if you got below a certain score, please see me at office hours” and then proceeded to call out their names and made them get their tests. So literally, the entire class knew that you got a 40 or something on the exam. That must’ve been gut wrenching for students. First, you failed, which sucks, but then your professor calls you out so the entire class knows that you failed? I feel bad. I don’t think Sautet was being malicious. He seems like a nice guy, but that was just a feels bad moment. So don’t score that low so that you don’t get called out!

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Tags

  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Needs Textbook
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
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