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Physics/Thermodynamics: Continuum & Point Function


Dear Sir,

I got stuck when I read this in book: "The continuum idealization allows us to treat properties as point functions and to assume the properties vary continually in space with no jump discontinuities".
What I failed to understand is:-
a) what is a point function? &
b) meaning of 'vary continually' in this context.


Hello Utkarsh,

I found some websites that should help you:

About continuum idealization:
Go to Sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.6
Section Concept of a continuum,d.aWw
Start the Power Point document and go to page 13

About point function:
Review the entire webpage. I believe their definition of State function and our Point function are equivalent.
Review the first section.
Review section 4.5

About 'vary continually':
The key point is to "assume the properties ... [have] no jump discontinuities". The properties, such as pressure or temperature, vary continually or possibly remain constant.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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