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Physics for Engineers

Semester 1

This is a calculus-based course covering the basic laws and phenomena in electricity and magnetism, oscillation and waves, rotational mechanics and modern Physics. It revises and expands on selected areas of the CAPE Physics content so as to reinforce and expand student understanding of the fundamental concepts and their application to solving engineering problems.

  •  Mechanics  (12 hrs)
  • Work and Kinetic Energy
  • Scalars and Vector: scalar and vector products; vectors and their components; Unit vectors; Vector algebra in terms of their components; vector treatment of motion
  • Rotation: description of rotation using q, wand a; kinematic equations, kinematic energy of rotation. Rotational inertia and its calculation for some symmetrical objects. Parallel and perpendicular axis theorem. Torque; work done by torque.
  • Simple Harmonic Motion: Equation of linear SHM in differential form. Angular SHM in terms of torque and angular displacement; Differential equation of motion and its solution; application to pendulum and rotating disc.
  • Waves and Optics (10 hrs)
  • Waves on Strings: Transverse and longitudinal wave; the wave equation; phase velocity, the sine wave; power transmission; superposition principle; interface; standing waves and resonance
  • Sound Waves: Wave speed; displacement and pressure waves; beats; Doppler effect
  • Optics: Huygen’Principle; the electromagnetic wave; coherence; Young’s experiment; Single and double slit diffraction; the phasor method; the diffraction grating
  • Lasers: What are lasers?;  introduction to the basic principle of operation; laser application in engineering
  •  Electricity and Magnetism (10 hrs):
  • Electric field and potential: The electric field E due to extended charge distributions; Integral and differential expressions relating the electric potential V to the E field; Potential due to a dipole and other extended charge distributions.
  • Gauss’ Law: Application to problems with spherical, cylindrical and rectangular symmetry.
  • Capacitance: Calculation of the capacitance of various capacitors; Energy stored in a capacitor; RC circuits; Time constant
  • Magnetism: Magnetic force on current-carrying wire and its application to cases needing calculus treatment; Magnetic torque on a current loop; Magnetic moment of a current loop; The Hall-Effect; Biot-Savart Law and Ampere’s Law, and their application to long current-carrying wire, loop, and solenoid.
  • Electromagnetic Induction: Faraday’s Law and Lenz’s Law; Electro-magnetic induction and its applications; Self Induction; Inductance; RL circuits
  • Introduction to the Electromagnetic wave.
  •  Modern Physics (7 hrs)
  • Bohr Atom:Spectral series for hydrogen, Bohr’s postulates, derivation of energy levels, blackbody radiation and quantized energy levels (qualitative)
  • Waves & Corpuscles:Wave-particle duality; photo-electric effect; Compton-effect; energy, momentum and wavelength of a photon, deBroglie’s equation, wave function, particle in a box.
  • Quantum Mechanics

One 3-hour theory examination paper                           70%

Two 1-hour in-course tests       (15 % each)                 30%

Learning Objectives: 
  • After completing this course, students should be able to:
  • Recognize and solve problems that call for application of conservation of energy and Newton’s laws.
  • Calculate the magnitude and direction of torque associated with a given force.
  • Explain the analogy between translational and rotational kinematics so as to write and apply relations among the angular acceleration, angular velocity, and angular displacement of an object that rotates about a fixed axis with constant angular acceleration.
  • Apply the wave equation to determine the parameters of sound waves and wave on a string
  • Determine the wave equation from known waveform parameters
  • Explain the basic properties of laser and describe some of its applications in engineering.
  • Perform quantitative analyses of basic problems in Electrostatics and Electrodynamics.
  • Apply Gauss’s Law, Ampere’s Law, and Biot-Savart Law to solving practical problems in electricity and magnetism.
  • Explain and analyze the behavior of alternating currents in RLC circuits.
  • Apply Lorentz transform to physically and quantitatively interpret concepts of time-dilation and length-contraction in Relativity Theory.
  • Apply concepts of 20th Century Modern Physics to deduce the structure of atoms.
  • Analyze the structure of matter at its most fundamental.
CAPE/A-Level Physics or P04A/PHYS0410 and P04B/PHYS0420 or CSEC Physics with CAPE/A-Level Maths or M08B/MATH0100 and M08C/MATH0110

Required Textbook:

Physics for Scientists and Engineers – 6th Edition, Extended Version” by Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca; Freeman, W. H. & Company; August 2007

Supplemental reading:

Halliday, Resnick, and Walker; “Fundamentals of Physics Extended”; 8th Edition, 2007

Internet Sources:

  1. Online notes on introductory electromagnetic:
  2. Online lectures:
  3. Online tutorials:
  4. Online text:
Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 1
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