Module Catalogue 2017/18

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SFY0016 : Foundation Physics B

  • Offered for Year: 2017/18
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jerry Hagon
  • Lecturer: Dr Toni Carruthers
  • Owning School: Mechanical & Systems Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

GCSE Science and Mathematics at Grade C or above.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

SFY0001 Basic Mathematics if below Grade C in GCSE Mathematics


To introduce the basic aspects of electricity and magnetism, vibrations, waves and optical physics without a requirement for A level physics. The module includes practical work.

Outline Of Syllabus

Electricity and Magnetism Dr J P Hagon

Electrostatics: Conductors and insulators. Electrification by friction. Attraction of charged bodies for uncharged ones; polarisation. Coulomb’s law. Permittivity. Dielectric constant. Electric field. Flux. Electric dipole. Lines of force. Field
of a charged sphere. Electric field outside a charged plane. Gauss’ law. Electric potential. Potential energy.

Capacitance: Electric field between plates. Energy stored in a capacitance. Capacitance of an isolated sphere. Capacitors in parallel and in series.

Electric current: Potential difference. Ohm’s law. Resistivity of a metal. Resistors in series and in parallel. Potential divider. Wheatstone’s bridge. Electrical power and energy. Electromotive force. Internal resistance and its measurement. Maximum power from a battery.

Magnetism: Magnetic field. Magnetic dipole. Repulsion and attraction between poles.

Magnetic effect of currents: Repulsion and attraction between current carrying wires. Permeability and relative permeability. Fleming’s left hand rule. Force on a moving charge in a magnetic field. Cyclotron. Biot-Savart law.
Field due to a straight wire and a circular coil. Torque on a rectangular coil in a field. Magnetic moment of a coil.

Electromagnetic induction: Faraday Lenz law. The dynamo.

Alternating current: Peak, RMS current and voltage. Self induction. Mutual inductance. Energy stored in an inductance. The transformer.

Introduction: the electromagnetic spectrum, colour, black-body radiation, polarization, waves rays and photons.

Optical Physics

Introduction: the electromagnetic spectrum, colour, black-body radiation, polarization, waves rays and photons.

Reflection and refraction at plane surfaces: law of reflection, Snell’s law, refractive index, critical angle, total internal reflection, optical fibres, prisms, dispersion, spectroscopic instruments.

Reflection/refraction at curved surfaces: imaging with spherical mirrors and thin lenses, magnification, determination of focal length. Ray tracing. Use of the formula 1/u + 1/v = 1/f with sign convention. Combination of thin lenses.

Optical Instruments: camera, the eye, the telescope, the microscope, effect of lens aberrations and diffraction on performance

Vibrations and Waves

Periodic motion: amplitude, period, frequency, phase, Hooke’s law, simple harmonic motion, motion of a pendulum, forced and damped vibrations, general periodic motion: velocity, amplitude and acceleration.

Wave motion: transverse and longitudinal waves, wavelength, frequency, velocity, amplitude, reflection of a wave, superposition of waves, standing waves, nodes, beat frequencies, diffraction, interference, coherence.

Sound: the production of sound, relative speed of sound in solids liquids and gases, Intensity of sound, decibel units,
Frequency response of the ear, pitch, harmonics, resonance in air columns and strings, Doppler effect, ultrasound and its applications.

Experimental Physics

Experimental physics is introduced, providing practice in the basic skills in scientific measurement and a background to the theoretical concepts taught in the module.
Treatment of experimental errors.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the elementary physics associated with:

• electrostatics and the energy contained in capacitors;
• electric circuit elements and their combination;      
• magnetism and its effect on current carrying conductors in a magnetic field;
•       temperature and its measurement,
•       heat transfer,
•       the kinetic theory of gases
•       periodic motion,
•       wave motion,
•       interference of waves.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of this module students will be able to communicate effectively the scientific content of the module contributes to the written communications skills of the student. The scientific problem solving element enhances general problem solving skills and initiative.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
  • Interaction
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture361:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion118:0018:00Exam Revision
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:302:30Written Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00Lab practical reports.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1109:30109:30N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The subject material is highly knowledge based and requires lectures to disseminate the material. The problems-solving classes enhance knowledge and consolidate the students’ understanding of the material.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1502A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M25N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module is intended to provide a factual knowledge base. A formal written examination is most appropriate in this case. The in-course assessment encourages a consistent approach to learning.

Resit examination is the same. Resit of laboratory work by special exercise.
Special arrangements may be required for Study Abroad Students.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Original Handbook text:
Basic aspects of electricity and magnetism, vibrations, waves and thermal physics are introduced without a requirement for A level physics. The module includes a practical work element.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2017/18 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.