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PHY1037 : Vibrations, Waves, AC Theory & Introduction to Solid State Materials

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jonathan Mar
  • Lecturer: Dr Tiago Marinheiro
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To present the dynamics of simple and damped harmonic oscillators and to give examples of systems exhibiting this behaviour. To present the impact of a driving force on this motion and the phenomenon and description of resonance.

To present techniques needed for analysis DC and AC circuits. To impart an appreciation of the analogy between AC circuits analysis and mechanical oscillations.

To present an introduction to the subject of coupled oscillations, with an introduction to normal mode analysis.

To present an introduction to wave propagation and an introduction to the wave equation. To introduce phase and group velocities and the Doppler effect.

To present a study of the transmission and reflection of waves at interfaces.

To introduce concepts of states of matter with a focus on solid state materials to act as a foundation for later course.

To introduce phase diagrams and discuss phase transitions.

To give some understanding of some thermal properties of matter.

Outline Of Syllabus

Harmonic motion: dynamics and mechanical origin.
Damping, quantification of damping.
Forced harmonic motion. Resonance
Superposition of SHM: beats.
Elementary analysis of DC and AC electrical circuits. Analog of mechanical system.
Coupled oscillations and normal modes. Physical concept of superposing normal modes and Fourier series.

Wave motion and the wave equation in one dimension. D’Alembert’s solution of the wave equation.
Waves on strings, sound waves and electromagnetic waves.
Group and phase velocity.
Reflection and transmission at interfaces.
The Doppler effect
Bonds between atoms: ionic bonds, metallic bonds, covalent bonds, molecular bonds, comparative strength of the bonds.
Ideal Gases: kinetic theory, specific heat of gases, mean free path.
Gas-liquid phase transitions: modifications to the ideal gas equation, continuous and discontinuous transitions between liquids and gases.
Liquids: the role of intermolecular forces in understanding surface tension and viscosity.
Order-disorder transitions: amorphous solids, liquid crystals.
Solids: the unit cell, crystal planes, methods of determining crystal structures

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Formal Lectures – Present in Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00Non-Synchronous Activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00Revision Lectures – Present in Person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion741:0074:00Completion of in course assignments/ examination revision
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study821:0082:00Preparation time for lectures, background reading, coursework review
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1502A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment1M10Mastering Physics
Computer assessment1M20Mastering Physics
Computer assessment2M10Mastering Physics
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

In the event of on-campus examinations not being possible, an on-line alternative assessment will be used for written examination 1.

Reading Lists