Mechanics & Thermal Physics I

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Mechanics & Thermal Physics I

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Recommended prerequisite: PHYS1171 or Year 12 Physics, MATH1040 or Year 12 Maths

  • 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

  • Host University Units

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

    Course Description
    Nature of physics, kinematics, dynamics, conservation laws, rigid body rotation, oscillations, fluids and elasticity, thermodynamics, arrow of time, heat engines, laboratory experiments & error analysis.
    Course Introduction
    This course is an introduction to kinematics, dynamics, momentum and energy, rigid body rotation, elasticity and fluids, oscillations, and thermodynamics. This is the first semester "mainstream physics" course for students wishing to complete a BSc focussing on physics; or for students in other disciplines (e.g. biology, law, teaching) who wish to have a thorough grounding in physics. It is followed by PHYS1002 in the second semester.
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    • Newton?s Laws: Differentiate between the concepts of position, velocity, and acceleration. Understand the proper use of significant figures. Translate kinematic information between verbal, pictorial, graphical, and algebraic representations. Develop a robust problem-solving strategy. Add and subtract vectors and decompose them into components. Compute two-dimensional trajectories. Understand the kinematics of uniform circular motion. Draw an accurate free-body diagram of an object. Distinguish mass, weight, and gravity. Identify action/reaction pairs of forces. Understand and use Newton?s third law. Understand the dynamics of uniform circular motion.
    • Conservation Laws: Understand interactions in terms of impulse and momentum. Apply conservation of momentum in simple situations. Apply the concepts of kinetic and potential energy. Learn Hooke?s law for springs and the idea of a restoring force. Recognise transformations between kinetic, potential and thermal energy. Develop a complete statement of the law of conservation of energy. Understand the idea of power.
    • Applications of Newtonian Mechanics: Extend the particle model to the rigid-body model. Understand rotation about a fixed axis. Apply the vector description of rotational motion and angular momentum. Understand the physics and mathematics of oscillations. Understand and use energy conservation in oscillatory systems. Understand pressure in fluids and gasses. Use Archimedes?s principle to understand buoyancy.
    • Thermodynamics: Recognise and use the state variables characterising macroscopic phenomena. Understand and use the ideal gas law. Understand and practice using pV diagrams for ideal gas processes. Understand energy conservation in the first law of thermodynamics. Learn how heat is related to temperature through specific heats. Understand adiabatic processes. Understand the molecular basis for pressure and the ideal-gas law. Obtain a qualitative understanding of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. Understand the physics of simple heat engines and refrigerators. Learn that there is a limit to the efficiency of a heat engine.
    • Laboratory: Design and conduct simple experiments. Understand how to make observations and present them in tables and graphs. Estimate uncertainties (absolute and relative) and propagate uncertainties. Understand standard error of the mean.
    Class Contact
    3 hours Lectures, 1 hour Tutorial, 3 hours Practicals
    Assessment Summary
    Laboratory: 20%
    Problem Set(s): 20%
    Reading Quiz: Must complete 75% of quizzes
    Participation: 3% (bonus marks)
    Mid-Semester Exam: 10%
    Final Exam: 50%

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.