Physics and astronomy

Properties of Matter

Module code: F3216
Level 3 (sub-degree)
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Class, Lecture, Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

This module covers:

  1. Simple Harmonic Motion: SHM of an ideal horizontal mass/spring system; rotating vector representation of SHM; kinetic and potential energy of a harmonic oscillator; examples of SHM; damped harmonic motion.
  2. Elasticity: Hooke's law; elastic modulii; Poisson's ratio; non-elastic behaviour.
  3. Fluids: fluids at rest; pressure; density; Archimedes' principle and flotation; Stokes's law and terminal velocity; hydraulic machines; fluids in motion: streamline flow; the equation of continuity and Bernoulli's equation and their applications.
  4. Temperature: temperature scales; thermometers; thermodynamic temperature and absolute zero; ranges of temperatures; zeroth law of thermodynamics.
  5. Thermal Expansion: linear and volumetric expansion; solids and liquids; water.
  6. Gas Laws: Boyle's Law, Charles's Law and Gay-Lussac's Law; equation of state and the ideal gas law.
  7. Kinetic Theory of Gases: basic postulates; microscopic definition of temperature.
  8. Thermal Energy: heat and temperature; quantity of heat; mechanical equivalent of heat; specific heat capacity.
  9. Changes of State: melting and freezing; vaporisation and boiling; latent heat.
  10. Transfer of Thermal Energy: radiation; convection; conduction.
  11. Thermodynamics: basic concepts; first law of thermodynamics; conservation of energy; isothermal, isobaric, isometric and adiabatic processes; Second Law of Thermodynamics and the concept of entropy; heat engines and heat pumps; cyclic processes; analysis of thermal efficiency; the Carnot cycle and the concept of an ideal engine.

Module learning outcomes

  • Have acquired a basic knowledge of simple harmonic motion, elasticity, fluid dynamics, heat, thermal energy, thermodynamics.
  • Be able to solve problems related to physics and engineering at the appropriate level which requires the use of the knowledge.
  • Have acquired a sufficient understanding in the material of the course for subsequent core courses in physics and engineering which include properties of matter.