Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Fundamentals of Physics I
Academic Year
Semester 1
GCSE Mathematics and Science or equivalent
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 Hours   Test  15%
Semester Assessment 2 Hours   Test  15%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Exam  70%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Supplementary Examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

Recall and apply the physics of the structure of matter, thermal properties of matter, kinetic theory of gases

Demonstrate the ability to solve problems on the structure of matter, thermal properties of matter, kinetic theory of gases

Recall and apply the physics underlying objects in motion

Demonstrate the ability to solve problems on objects in motion

Produce qualitative descriptions of the macroscopic and microscopic behaviour of matter

Brief description

The module explores the current understanding of the effects of forces on the properties and behaviour of matter. A qualitative introduction to the four fundamental forces gives the context to the behaviour of matter from sub-atomic particles, to solids and gases, through to the orbital motions of massive planetary bodies.


This module aims to enable students of physics, and other students in STEM fields, with a broad base of knowledge required to understand the behaviour of matter in the form of objects and matter. Such context is essential for students to be able to study physics at undergraduate level.


Syllabus Outline:

- Definitions of force
- Gravitational, electromagnetic, strong- and weak-nuclear forces; their range and relative strengths

- Atomic structure and behaviour: subatomic particles, isotopes, radioactivity
- Quantisation of energy: photon, electron energy levels within atoms, quantum numbers, emission spectra
- Interatomic bonding to form molecules, intermolecular forces
- Interatomic bonding to form solid lattices
- Deformation of solids: stress, strain, elastic moduli, plastic deformation

- Kinetic theory of gases
- Equations of state (qualitative)
- Avogadro's number, the mole
- Ideal gas: derivation of the equation of state of an ideal gas from the kinetic theory
- Isochoric, isobaric, isothermal and adiabatic processes

- Macroscopic properties of systems in terms of the microscopic behaviour of molecules, pressure, rms velocity, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution
- First law of thermodynamics: heat, work, internal energy
- Thermal properties of matter: specific heat capacity, latent heat, thermal conductivity, thermal expansion

- Displacement, velocity, acceleration
- Linear motion with constant acceleration
- Forces in equilibrium
- Newton's three laws of motion
- Impulse, conservation of momentum
- Circular motion: angular velocity, centripetal force, centripetal acceleration
- Motion under gravity: projectile motion, Kepler's laws of planetary motion, gravitational field and potential, escape velocity

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Creative Problem Solving Throughout the module
Critical and analytical thinking Throughout the module
Subject Specific Skills Throughout the module


This module is at CQFW Level 3