Undergraduate Course: Physics of Fields and Matter (PHYS08046)
|School||School of Physics and Astronomy
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course is designed for pre-honours physics students. It provides an introduction to electromagnetic fields and the properties of matter. It serves both as a preparation for further study in physics-based degree programmes, and as a standalone course for students of other disciplines, including mathematics, chemistry, geosciences, computer science and engineering. The course consists of lectures to present new material, and workshops to develop understanding, familiarity and fluency.
Physics of Fields (20 lectures)
- Introduction and why electromagnetism is important.
- Electric charge, Coulomb's Law.
- Electric field from changes, dipoles and charge distributions.
- Gauss's Law in integral form and briefly in div form.
- Electrostatic potential from point changes and charge distributions and link to work.
- Capacitors, dielectric materials, energy stored in electric fields.
- Current, resistance, RC circuits.
- Magnetic field, Lorentz force of charges and current, magnetic moment and torque on current loops.
- Ampere's Law in integral form, magnetic field in solenoid and toroids.
- Induction, magnetic Flux, Faraday's Law, Lenz's Law.
- Inductance, current in inductor, RL circuits, energy in magnetic field.
- Magnetic materials. Dia/Para/Ferro-magnetism. The Earth's magnetic field.
- LC , LRC circuit, ac current, forced LRC circuit and resonance.
- Maxwell's equations in integral form and discussion of physical implications.
Physics of Matter (20 lectures)
- Basic concepts. Phases; equation of state; P-V-T surface and projections,
- Elementary thermal physics. Origin of phase transitions; basic thermodynamics: equilibrium (0th law); contributions to the internal energy (1st law), heat capacities and latent heat; brief mention of free energy; entropy and its statistical interpretation (2nd law),
- Ideal gases. Kinetic theory; Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distributions; sedimentation/barometric height distribution; degrees of freedom and equipartition theorem,
- Non-ideal gases. Lennard-Jones type interaction; van der Waals approach; instability in PV isotherms; appearance of the liquid below Tc; phase coexistence and critical phenomena,
- Liquid phase. Radial distribution function; vapour pressure; surface tension,
- Flow and transport phenomena. Bernoulli¿s equation; viscosity; Reynolds number
- Crystalline phase. Bonding types; types of order; unit cells and basis; symmetry; centring; Miller indices; crystal planes, Bragg's law; scattering of electrons, neutrons and x-rays.
- Electronic properties. Metals, semiconductors, insulators.
- Elasticity, plasticity, and fracture. Young¿s modulus; sound waves; bulk modulus; shear stress and dislocations; cracking.
- Other phases of matter. Molecular crystals; structures of water ice, plasmas, degenerate matter.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 44,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Summative Assessment Hours 3,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||20% Coursework 80% Examination
To pass course it is required to obtain a weighted average of 40% AND to obtain 40% in the examination.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||3:00|
|Resit Exam Diet (August)||3:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- State the basic principles of electromagnetism and materials physics, and apply these principles in conjunction with elementary mathematical techniques to solve simple problems in electromagnetism and matter physics.
- Present a solution to a physics problem in a clear and logical written form and assess whether a solution to a given problem is physically reasonable
- Locate and use additional sources of information (to include discussion with peers where appropriate) to facilitate independent problem-solving and take responsibility for learning by attending lectures and workshops, and completing coursework
|Physics of Fields section:|
Principle of Physics' (Extended International Edition; 10th Edition, authors: Halliday, Resnick and Walker, publisher: Wiley,
Physics of Matter section:
D Tabor, "Gases, Liquids and Solids", Cambridge University Press, 1991.
AJ Walton, "Three Phases of Matter", Oxford, 1983
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||4 lectures per week and 1 out of 3 workshops.
|Course organiser||Dr Will Hossack
Tel: (0131 6)50 5261
|Course secretary||Mrs Bonnie Macmillan
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 5:06 am