Module Catalogue 2022/23

SFY0015 : Foundation Physics A

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tiago Marinheiro
  • Lecturer: Dr Adrian Oila
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 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 forces, fields, thermal physics, atomic and nuclear physics are introduced without a requirement for A level physics. The module includes a practical work element.

Outline Of Syllabus


Kinematics: units, dimensions, scalar and vector quantities, velocity, acceleration.
Forces: momentum, impulse, conservation of momentum, collisions. Newton’s laws. Gravitational and inertial mass.
Energy: work, energy, power, potential energy, conservation of energy.
Circular motion: angular velocity and acceleration, centripetal and centrifugal forces. Rotation about centre of mass, moment of inertia, angular momentum.
Fields: gravitational fields, potential and potential energy in fields. Inverse square law.

Structure of the atom

Atomic physics: Rutherford scattering experiment. The wave/particle nature of light. The photo- electric effect. The photon and atomic structure. The Bohr model of the hydrogen atom. The spectrum of atomic hydrogen. Multi-electron atoms. The Periodic Table. X-rays. X-ray production. Spectra. Absorption. Applications
Nuclear Physics: Atomic number, atomic weight, isotopes. Stability of nuclei.
Natural radioactivity: alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Sources of radiation. Half-life. Equation of radioactive decay.

Thermal & Material Physics

Temperature: temperature scales and thermometers.
Heat: Heat capacity and calorimetry. Heat transfer. Conduction. Convection. Radiation.
States of matter: Kinetic theory of gases. Ideal gas laws. Thermal expansion of solids and liquids. Elastic properties. Phase changes. Latent heats.

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.

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:
•       forces
•       energy
•       the structure of the atom and the interaction of light with atoms
•       the structure of the nucleus
•       radioactivity and radioactive decay
•       thermometry, basic thermodynamics and properties of materials

Intended Skill Outcomes

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

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
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SFY0014Foundation Physics A2
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.

Alternatives will be offered to students unable to be present-in-person due to the prevailing C-19 circumstances. Student’s should consult their individual timetable for up-to-date delivery information.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A67N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M25N/A
Practical/lab report1M8N/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 assessment of laboratory work is most readily obtained through the written reports.

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


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

This module contains lecture material that is taught in common with the module SFY0014

Original Handbook text:
Basic aspects of forces, fields, optics, atomic and nuclear physics are introduced without a requirement for A level physics. The module includes practical work.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.