Materials and Thermal Physics

Queensland University of Technology

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Materials and Thermal Physics

  • Host University

    Queensland University of Technology

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    PVB200 or MXB105 or PVB202 

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    This unit provides you with an overview of materials science and of the basic crystallographic and thermodynamic principles that describe the behaviour of solids and fluids.  The three areas you will study in this unit, thermal physics, physical properties and the physics of solids are core concepts that underpin a physical science degree.  This unit builds upon knowledge and skills obtained in PVB102 and PVB203 and it is a companion unit with PVB302 (Classical and Quantum Physics).

    Learning Outcomes
    To successfully complete this unit you will demonstrate:
    1. Qualitative and quantitative knowledge of the quantum theory of solids, microscopic and macroscopic thermodynamics, and modelling of physical properties and structure.
    2. Critical reasoning, problem solving and written communication of complex physical concepts
    3. Creative use of appropriate software to visualise and describe complex physical processes
    4. Effective participation in group work to simulate and visualize advanced physical concepts.

    This unit covers three main topics which are thermal physics, properties of materials and the physics of solids.
    Thermal physics will cover topics which include
    Equipartition principle, heat capacity and quantisation of energy
    Thermodynamic laws - enthalpy and entropy
    Thermodynamic cycles - heat to mechanical energy 
    Phase diagrams and phase transformation
    Introduction to statistical mechanics

    Physics of solids will include:
    Model of free electron gas in a potential well 
    Fermi-Dirac distribution function, density of states function 
    Fermi energy and Fermi surface 
    Lattice structures and reciprocal lattice 
    Lattice vibrations - acoustic and optical phonons 

    Properties of materials will cover:
    The band gap and electrical conductivity - metals, semiconductors and insulators
    Specific heats of metals and dielectrics 
    Thermal conductivity and thermal expansion of solids
    Optical (visible and infrared light), electron and X-ray interaction with matter

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.