Physics and astronomy

Foundation Mechanics

Module code: F3207
Level 3 (sub-degree)
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Workshop, Lecture, Class
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

Topics covered include:

  • Units and dimensions: mass, length, time and derived units.
  • Kinematics in one dimension: displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration; linear motion with uniform acceleration and the equations of motion; gravitational acceleration.
  • Vectors and scalars: addition and subtraction of vectors; components of a vector.
  • Motion in more than one dimension: projectiles.
  • Forces and Newton's laws of motion: force and mass; Newton's 3 laws; gravitational force, normal forces, tension, frictional forces and coefficients of friction.
  • Work and energy: work done by a constant force; the work-energy theorem and kinetic energy; potential energy; conservative and non-conservative forces; conservation of mechanical energy; power.
  • Linear momentum: linear momentum, impulse and conservation of linear momentum; elastic and inelastic collisions in one and two dimensions.
  • Uniform circular motion: centripetal forces and centripetal acceleration; satellites.
  • Rotational kinematics: angular displacement, angular velocity and angular acceleration; the equations of rotational kinematics with constant angular acceleration; rolling motion.
  • Statics of rigid bodies: torque; action of forces and torques on rigid bodies; rigid bodies in equilibrium; centre of mass and centre of gravity; stability.
  • Rotational dynamics of rigid bodies: Newton's second law for rotation about a fixed axis; moment of inertia; work and kinetic energy associated with rotational motion; angular momentum of a rigid body and conservation of angular momentum.

Module learning outcomes

  • Have acquired a basic knowledge of kinematics and mechanics, including work, energy, power, momentum and statics and dynamics of rigid bodies.
  • Be able to solve problems relevant to physics and engineering at the appropriate level which requires use of the knowledge.
  • Have acquired a sufficient grounding in the material of the course for subsequent core courses in physics and engineering which include kinematics and mecahnics.