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Semester 1

This is a calculus-based physics course covering the basic laws and phenomena in mechanics.

  • Scalars and Vectors:
    • Scalar and Vector products.
    • Vectors and their components.
    • Unit vectors.
    • Vector algebra in terms of their components.
  • Vector Treatment of Motion:
    • Position vector and particle trajectory.
    • Average and instantaneous acceleration.
    • Application to uniform circular motion.
    • Derivation of a = -w2r. Relative velocity.
  • Work and Kinetic Energy:
    • General definition of work.
    • Work done by a variable force.
    • One-dimensional analysis.
    • Interpretation of work as area under graph of F vs. x.
    • Proof of Work-Kinetic Theorem.
  • Conservation of Energy:
    • Conservative Forces.
    • General definition of potential energy and examples of its calculation. Mechanical Energy.
    • Proof of conservation of Mechanical Energy.
    • Non-conservative forces.
    • Conservation of total energy.
  • System of Particles:
    • Centre of mass for systems of particles and extended objects.
    • Newton's Second Law for systems of particles and extended objects and consequences.
    • Proof of conservation of linear momentum.
  • Rotation:
    • Description of rotation using θ, w  and α .
    • Kinematic equations.
    • Kinematic energy of rotation.
    • Rotational inertia and its calculation for some symmetrical objects. 
    • Parallel and Perpendicular Axes Theorem.
    • Torque τ = r x F and τ = Iw.
    • Work and Torque.  
  • Rolling:
    • Definition of Rolling.
    • Rolling as a combination of rotation and translation.
    • Rolling as pure rotation  about an instantaneous axis.
    • Role of friction in rolling.
    • Kinetics and dynamics of rolling.
    • Definition of Angular Momentum. Newton's Second Law in angular form.
    • Angular momentum for a system of particles.
    • Conservation of angular momentum and its application.
  • Simple Harmonic Motion:
    • Equation of Linear SHM in differential form and solution as x = A sin (ωt + θ).
    • Definition of angular SHM in terms of torque and angular displacement.
    • Differential equation of motion and its solution.
    • Examples such as physical pendulum (and limiting case of simple pendulum) and suspended oscillating disc.

One 2-hour theory examination paper                                    60%

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

Laboratory Report (Averaged of 6 labs at 10% each)            10%

Learning Objectives: 

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  •  Distinguish between a scalar quantity and a vector quantity and perform vector algebra.
  • Describe and perform calculations related to one and two dimensional motion, as well as rotational and rolling motion, using the basic equations of kinematics.
  • Identify, describe and determine mathematically, the cause of linear, rotational and rolling motions, by describing/determining forces, torques, work and energy, impulse and momentum associated with objects undergoing each type of motion.
  • Describe mathematically simple harmonic motion and perform simple calculations.
  •  Perform and interpret the results of simple experiments and demonstrations of physical principles.
CAPE/A-Level Physics or PHYS0411 and PHYS0412 and PHYS 0421 and PHYS 0422 or CSEC Physics with CAPE/A-Level Maths

Required Textbook:

Halliday, Resnick, and Walker; “Fundamentals of Physics Extended”; 8th Edition, 2007. ISBN 978-0-471-75801-3

Alternative text

Paul A. Tipler and  Gene Mosca,Physics for Scientists and Engineers. 6th Edition, 2007. ISBN-10: 0716789647.

Internet Sources:

  1. Online lectures:
  2. Online tutorials:
Course Code: 
3 Credits
Level 1
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