Global Opportunities

SFY0016 : Foundation Physics B

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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

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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture331:0033:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:302:30Written Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion118:0018:00Exam Revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00Lab practical reports.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1112:30112:30N/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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1502A67N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M25N/A
Prob solv exercises2M8N/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.

Reading Lists