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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Physics of Matter (PHYS08054)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is designed for Pre-Honours Physics students. It provides an introduction to materials physics. 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.
Course description - 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.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Modern Physics (PHYS08045) OR Classical and Modern Physics (PHYS08044)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Physics of Fields and Matter (PHYS08046)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 64 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
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.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)1:45
Resit Exam Diet (August)1:45
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. State the basic principles materials physics and apply these principles in conjunction with elementary mathematical techniques to solve simple problems in matter physics
  2. 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.
  3. 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
Reading List
Blundell & Blundell, "Concepts in Thermal Physics", Oxford
D Tabor, "Gases, Liquids and Solids", Cambridge University Press, 1991.
AJ Walton, "Three Phases of Matter", Oxford, 1983
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Ross Galloway
Course secretaryMiss Denise Fernandes Do Couto
Tel: (0131 6)51 7521
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