Physics and astronomy

Foundation Mechanics

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

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Units and dimensions: mass, length, time and derived units.
  • Kinematics in one dimension: displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration.
  • Linear motion with uniform acceleration, the equations of motion and gravitational acceleration.
  • Vectors and scalars: the components of a vector and the addition and subtraction of vectors.
  • 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, kinetic energy, potential energy, conservative and non-conservative forces and the conservation of mechanical energy.
  • Linear momentum: linear momentum, impulse, conservation of linear momentum and elastic and inelastic collisions in one and two dimensions.
  • Uniform circular motion: centripetal forces, centripetal acceleration and satellites.
  • Rotational kinematics: angular displacement, angular velocity, angular acceleration, the equations of rotational kinematics with constant angular acceleration and rolling motion.
  • Statics of rigid bodies: torque, action of forces, torques on rigid bodies, rigid bodies in equilibrium, centre of mass, centre of gravity and stability.
  • Rotational dynamics of rigid bodies: Newton's second law for rotation about a fixed axis, the 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 mechanics.