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SFY0015 : Foundation Physics A

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • 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


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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials122:0024:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical32:006:00Lab experiments. Including write up time.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery152:0030:00Scheduled drop-in surgery via zoom. Email support available at any time.
Guided Independent StudyDistance Learning Advance Preparation1140:00140:00Advance preparation - module materials
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M100Comprised of mini online test and a final examination. Online tests - 6*5% each)
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.

Reading Lists