Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Physical Forces
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Not available to students doing 3 year Physics BSc(Hon) or 4 year MPhys
GCSE Mathematics or equivalent
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 Hours to include lectures and tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  80%
Semester Assessment Problem sheets and/or written assignments  20%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

  • Use Newtonian mechanics to describe the behaviour of simple mechanical systems, and be able to apply that understanding to solve simple problems in this area.
  • Apply the kinetic theory of gases to simple problems.

Brief description

This module explores the success of Newtonian physics in explaining the world around us - from the behaviour of gases to the orbit of planets. Starting from the cornerstone of Newton's three laws, the module progresses to examine the interaction of forces and material objects and introduces the concept of a central force field. Topics covered include: conservation laws, rotational motion, gravitational fields and potential, projectiles and intermolecular forces, kinetic theory of gases, qualitative description of the nature of the 4 fundamental forces.


Outline Syllabus-

Definitions of force, vector and scalar quantities addition of vectors.
Components of vectors, adding vectors by components.
Forces in equilibrium.
Newton's three laws of motion.
Impulse; conservation of momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions.
Work, energy and power.
Circular motion; centripetal force and acceleration.
Rotation of solid bodies; moment of inertia, angular momentum.
Couples, torques and angular acceleration.
Parallels between translational and rotational motion.
Motion under gravity, projectiles.
Newtonian gravitation, Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
Gravitational field, fields inside and outside the Earth, the orbit of satellites.
Gravitational potential, escape velocity.

Intermolecular forces and potential energy; thermal expansion.
The kinetic theory of matter; an ideal gas.
Derivation of pressure from consideration of molecular motions.
The concept of rms velocity.
Derivation of gas laws from kinetic theory.

The gravitational, electromagnetic, strong- and weak-nuclear forces; their ranges and relative strengths.

Reading List

Recommended Text
M. Nelkon and P.Parker Advanced Level Physics Heinemann Educational Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 3