Module Identifier PH19010  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Andrew R Breen  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Martin C Wilding  
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 Assessment Course work:2 mixed short essay and multiple choice test( 50% each)  100%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours Supplementary exam  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. Energy conversion
   Theory of heat engines and the laws of thermodynamics
   Heat engines and heat pumps
   Energy sources and environmental impacts: Wind and water power
   Energy sources and environmental impacts: Fossil fuels. External and internal combustion engines,
   thermal efficiency
   Energy sources and environmental impacts: Nuclear energy, fission and fusion
   Energy sources and environmental impacts: Solar energy
   Energy sources and environmental impacts: Geothermal energy
   Use of energy in society.   Energy usage and availability. "Peak oil".

Environmetal 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

   Sustainability of energy use, environmental impacts and implications.

Transferable skills

Introductory skills for using the Internet and other electronic sources of information.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
J. Houghton (2004) Golbal Warming - The complete briefing Cambridge University Press
** Supplementary Text
J.J. Kraushaar and R.A. Ristinen (1993) Energy and Problems of a Technical Society Wiley 0471573108
R.A. Ristinen and J.J. Kraushaar (1999) Energy and the Environment Wiley 0047117280
Ramage, J. (1997) Energy: a Guidebook Oxford University Press 0192880225


This module is at CQFW Level 4