Module Identifier PH19010  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Andrew R Breen  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Andrew R Breen, Dr Yan Yin  
Pre-Requisite None - module is highly suitable for non Physics students  
Co-Requisite None  
Mutually Exclusive None  
Course delivery Lecture   20 lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours end of semester examination  100%

Learning outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

Brief description

Energy is a vital resource in our society. Its use and misuse has implications for the environment, and these issues have assumed dramatic proportions recently. This module discusses the fundamental physics behind energy resources, both conventional and alternative, in order to provide a balanced view of environmental implications. In this approach, the interdisciplinary nature of the subject is evident, and the module gives special emphasis to changes in the atmosphere - including acid rain and the greenhouse effect. The module is suitable for undergraduates of any discipline.


Basic Physics:
   Energy and Power. Conservation of Energy. Forms of energy
   Structure of the atom and the nucleus
   Radioactivity, fission and fusion
   Theory of heat engines and the laws of thermodynamics
   Heat engines and heat pumps
   Heat transfer - conduction, convection and radiation

Conversion of energy:
   Types of energy and energy conversion.
   Comparison of energy content and efficiency of different fuels.   
   Use of energy in society.
   How turbines generate electricity. Coal, oil and gas power stations
   Nuclear energy
   Hydroelectricity and tidal generation. Wind turbine. Solar energy.
   Advantages and disadvantages of different methods of generating electricity, including
   Nuclear fusion

Environmental Issues:
   Environmental risks of nuclear power
   Environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels:
   (i)   Basic meteorology of burning plumes
   (ii) Acid rain   
   (iii) Global warming: basic principles and feedback mechanisms

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
J. Houghton Global Warming - The complete briefing Cambridge University Press
** Supplementary Text
J. Ramage Energy: A Guidebook Oxford University Press 0 19 288022 5
R.A. Ristinen and J.J. Kraushaar (1999) Energy and the Environment Wiley 0471 1728 0
J.J. Kraushaar and R.A. Ristinen (1993) Energy and Problems of a Technical Society Wiley 0471573108


This module is at CQFW Level 4