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PYU22T10 Classical Physics for Theoretical Physics

Semester 1 MT – lectures, practical laboratory, project, small group tutorials – 10 credits
(G Cross, H Zhang, S Dooley, M Hegner)

This module combines elements of classical physics, as follows:

Thermodynamics – 15 lectures
Electricity and Magnetism II – 14 lectures
Oscillations – 12 lectures
Materials – 12 lectures

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Solve basic problems in relation to harmonic oscillators
  • Relate the concept of oscillations to optical properties of matter and AC circuits
  • Describe elementary crystal structures and the response of materials to external forces
  • Employ web-based research techniques in a small group project and present the results in the form of a poster
  • Prepare a report detailing methodology, data gathering and interpretation of a physical experiment
  • Describe how the laws of thermodynamics react to properties of matter


Thermodynamics – 15 lectures
Kinetic theory and the ideal gas equation. Van der Waals model for real gases. First law of thermodynamics. Internal energy, heat and work. Reversible and irreversible processes. Specific heat. Second law of thermodynamics. Heat engines, Carnot cycles. Entropy. Probability and disorder. Combined first and second laws. Central equation. H, F, G. Maxwell's relations. Energy equations. Cooling processes. Joule-Kelvin effect. Third law of thermodynamics.

Electricity and Magnetism II – 14 lectures
Magnetism, magnetic field lines and flux; Lorentz force on moving charge; Energy of and torque on a current loop in a magnetic field; magnetic fields of moving charges; Biot-Savart Law illustrated by magnetic fields of a straight wire and circular loop; forces between current-carrying straight wires; Ampere’s Law in integral form illustrated by field of a straight conductor of finite thickness. Electromagnetic induction and Faraday’s Law in integral form; Lenz’s Law; induced electric fields and motional emf’s; summary of Maxwell equations in integral form; Mutual inductance and self-inductance. R-L circuits and L-R-C circuits. AC circuits, phasor diagrams, reactance, resonance, transformers and complex representation of reactance. Power analysis. R-C integration and differentiation, R-C low- and high-pass filters and active filters.

Materials – 12 lectures
Inter- and intra- molecular forces, potential energy curves, heat capacity, thermal expansion and conductivity. Stress, strain, shear, elastic and plastic deformations of solids. Structures of solids in crystalline, glass, plastic phases. Insulators, conductors and semiconductors. Point defects and imperfections in solids – Iron/Carbon system. Density, pressure, surface tension, buoyancy and hydrodynamic-incompressible and compressible flows in fluids. Bernoulli's equation. Viscosity, diffusion, laminar and turbulent flow. Gas laws, kinetic theory and collisions, PVT diagrams, thermal expansion. Conductive, convective and radiative transport of heat. Stefan-Boltzmann law.
Oscillations – 12 lectures
Review of simple harmonic motion. Forced and damped oscillations. Resonance. Two coupled oscillators, modes and normal coordinates. Many coupled oscillators. Transition to continuous systems. Waves. Nonlinear behaviour. Anharmonic behaviour.






Experimental / Computational laboratories