Mechanical Physics

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Mechanical Physics

  • Host University

    Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

  • Location

    Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile

  • Area of Study

    Engineering Science and Math

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    What is it?

    The Physics for Engineers course is the first course in the engineering degree in which quantitative analysis and exploration of the physical environment converge.


    Engineering students are shown how physics, in its effort towards a detailed understanding of natural phenomena, allows a quantitative control of physical phenomena contributing to the development of new technologies. It is also a first attempt to build models that support the resolution of relevant problems of contemporary engineering.

    The contents studied and the analysis methodologies used, contribute to the quantitative approach of various engineering problems. Additionally, it helps students to model these problems, with the aim of improving existing technological solutions or creating alternative solutions.

    General Objectives

    1. Apply and connect mathematical, physical and engineering knowledge.
    2. Analyze and interpret data from simulations of physical reality
    3. Model and simulate computational systems, components or processes of physical reality


    ABET Skill

    Specific Objects

    Learning Results

    Unit 1: Ability to model and describe mathematically the movement of particles in space.

    To learn the concepts of vector position, trajectory, displacement, speed, angular velocity and acceleration. To calculate the relevant physical magnitudes in one and two dimensional movements.

    Students will be able to model moving particles, calculate positions, speeds and accelerations in one and two dimensions.

    Unit 2: Ability to use Newton´s Laws.

    Students will learn Newton's Laws. The concept of inertial systems, forces and the law of action and reaction. Students will study specific examples such as gravitational, elastic, tension, contact and friction forces. Simple harmonic movement will be studied as well.

    The student understands the concept of force, inertia, and its implication in movement.

    Identify the forces involved in the movement of a body.

    Solve Newton's equation in various situations.

    Unit 3: Ability to use conservation of energy and momentum in the description of the movement.

    To learn the concepts of work, potential energy, kinetic energy, mechanical energy, power, conservation of energy, work of non- conservative forces; center of mass, linear momentum, conservation of linear momentum, collisions.

    The student is able to calculate the work done by a force. He / she can apply the Energy Conservation Principle to describe movement in appropriate situations.

    Apply momentum conservation to describe elastic and inelastic shocks.

    Unit 4: Ability to describe solids in rotation.

    Learn the concepts of rotation, angular momentum and torque, so that they can be

    The student understands the meaning of angular momentum, rotational energy and its relation to

    angular velocity. It applies it in the



    used in the description of static or rotating rigid systems

    analysis of systems in rotational movement.

    Unit 5: Ability to solve
    problems that incorporate
    central forces

    To learn the concepts of
    energy conservation and
    angular momentum in the
    presence of a central force.
    Law of gravitation, laws of
    Kepler and planetary

    The student uses the conservation
    of energy and momentum equations
    to determine the movement in the
    case of a central force. It includes
    the planetary movement and
    Kepler's laws.


    Course Contents

    The great topic to study in the course includes the dynamics of mechanical systems. As such it is divided into 5 large thematic units.

    Unit 1: Vector concepts, position, trajectory, displacement, speed, acceleration and angular velocity. Movements in one and two dimensions: with constant speed, with constant and circumferential acceleration.

    Unit 2: Newton's laws. Inertial systems, conservative versus non-conservative forces. Specific forces: gravitational, elastic, tension, contact (normal, static friction, kinetic friction, viscosity). Simple harmonic movement.

    Unit 3: Conservative and non-conservative forces. Work. Potential energy. Power Kinetic energy. Mechanical energy. Energy conservation Center of mass, linear momentum, conservation of linear momentum, collisions.

    Unit 4: Rotation, angular momentum, torque, equilibrium, static, rigid solids, rotational kinetic energy and moment of inertia, equation of rotational movement.

    Unit 5: Central forces. Law of gravitation, laws of Kepler and planetary movement. Escape velocity.



    The pedagogical method consists of:

    • Expository classes with the theoretical bases of the discipline;
    • Assistantship sessions in which exercises are developed using the concepts discussed in class
    • Personal analytical study of situations that model aspects of physical reality and its applications.

    The method of learning by students

    • Active participation in class.
    • Study of texts.
    • Visualization of videos or demonstrations that motivate the theory.
    • Resolution of problems in assistantships.
    • Resolution of tasks and controls.
    • Contextualization of the content.
    • The process is completed with three tests and ends with a final exam.


    Evaluation of the Lessons Learned

    The evaluation instruments of this course include:

    1. Three cumulative tests. (Marks P1, P2, P3).
    2. A final exam (Mark E).
    3. Marks of different evaluations, consisting of Tasks or Controls. (Mark T). The number of these evaluations will vary, depending on the teacher and the circumstances of the course.

    The presentation mark NP is the average

    NP= (P1+P2+P3+T)/4.

    The calculation of this mark is approximated.

    The final exam includes all contents and aims to evaluate the main contents covered in the course. The exemption of the final exam is not possible in this course. All students must take the exam regardless of their presentation grade.

    The Exam has a REPROVING character, that is, if a student obtains a grade lower than

    1. in the exam, the course is AUTOMATICALLY FAILED, regardless of his / her presentation grade.

    If the exam grade is the same or higher than 2,5 , final mark will be calculated as follows:

    NC = 0,65 NP + 0,35 E.

    If the exam grade is lower than 2,5, final mark will be:

    NC = 0,3 NP + 0,7 E.

    Calculation of NC (Nota de Cátedra: Chair Mark) is approximated.

    The absence to one of the official tests or other evaluated activities must be duly justified before undergraduate area as soon as possible.

    If the student misses one of the tests and his/her justification is accepted by undergraduate area, he or she must take a recuperative test. This is a unique test, which will be done during the last two weeks of classes and will evaluate the contents of the 3 tests.

    If the student misses a control test and his/her justification is considered accepted by undergraduate area, the grade of the next test will replace it. If his/her absence is not properly justified, the student will get a 1.0.

    The absence to one or two tests will be cause of failure of the course with mark NF=NP

    In case of properly justified absence to the final exam, the student will have the possibility of taking a new exam on a date that will be informed timely. This exam can be oral or written.

    Evaluation calendar is the following:

    • Test #1      Tuesday, April 10th
    • Test #2      Tuesday, May 15th
    • Test #3      Tuesday, June 19th


    The controls do not have defined dates and will not be announced. The date of the exam will be announced in a timely manner.


    Learning Resources

    Students have a portfolio with the following learning resources:

    1. Study texts (in library).
    2. Notes with contents studied in class (digital format).
    3. A digital guide to problems (some solved) associated with the thematic units addressed.
    4. A number of theoretical tasks: in each of them a set of problems associated with the thematic units addressed must be resolved
    5. Assistantship classes in which problems associated with the thematic unit will be analyzed.
    6. Control tests.


    Basic bibliography of the course is the following:

    • Raymond Serway (2008), Física para ciencias e ingenierías Vol. 1, Cengage Learning Editores.
    • Paul Allen Tipler. (2005). Física, Vol I. Mexico: Reverté.
    • Nelson Zamorano, Introducción a la Mecánica (on line book)
    • Robert Resnick, David Halliday. (2002). Física, Vol I. 2002: S.L. (Grupo Patria Cultural) Alay Ediciones.





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