Physics and astronomy

Classical Physics

Module code: F3240
Level 4
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Class, Workshop
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

This module is focused around three main areas:

-Electric forces and fields in systems with static discrete electric charges and static observers.
-Continuous charge distributions, Gauss's law. Electric potential energy and electric potential. 
-Energy stored by the electric field. Motion of charged particles in static electric fields.
-Conductors and insulators in electric fields. Capacitance and capacitors. Energy storage in capacitors. Dielectrics. Drude's model of conduction. 
-Creation of magnetic fields from linear motion of charges (ie, a current) electron spin and orbital motion; motion perpendicular to an electric field. Force on a charged particle moving perpendicular to magnetic field.

-Phases of matter; the zeroth law of thermodynamics; temperature and temperature scales
-Thermal expansion coefficients
-The ideal-gas law
-The kinetic theory of gases; the Maxwell speed distribution; mean free paths; transport properties of gases; the equipartition theorem
-Heat capacity; latent heat
-The first law of thermodynamics; internal energy of gases
-PV diagrams; work
-Adiabatic processes


A-level Maths
A-level Physics
Level 4: (F3210) Classical Mechanics [T1]
Level 4: (F3201) Maths Methods 1 [T1]

Module learning outcomes

  • A successful student should be able to: make quantitative estimates of electric field strengths and directions, or forces and stored energies, given the necessary information on the disposition of charges and the properties of intervening media in simple systems.
  • State, explain and use the zeroth and first laws of thermodynamics, as well as basic concepts of thermodynamics like the ideal-gas law, the mean free path in a gas, the equipartition theorem, the Maxwell speed distribution, heat capacity and latent heat.