Classical Physics (F3240)

15 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

This module is focused around two 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 and Drude's model of conduction.
  • Creation of magnetic fields from linear motion of charges (i.e. a current), electron spin and orbital motion, motion perpendicular to an electric field and force on a charged particle moving perpendicular to magnetic field.


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


60%: Lecture
20%: Practical (Workshop)
20%: Seminar (Class)


20%: Coursework (Problem Set)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 48 hours of contact time and 102 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.