Physics (2008/2009)

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Course code
Name of lecturer
Gino Mariotto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
3° Q dal Apr 20, 2009 al Jun 19, 2009.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

The Phsyics coure is addressed to students of the Laurea Triennale in Computer Science.
The main aim of the course is to give the fundamentals of experimental method and of classic mechanics of particule and of particle systems, as well as of the electromagnetism.
The formation objectives are realized by means of frontal didactic activities (lessons and practices), held during the third period of the academic year during 64 hours of teaching.
The course consist either of theoretical lectures or of numerical exercises and of mathematical complements, aimed to bring the student to undergo and overcome the written proof of final examination.


1. Mechanics

1.1 – Measurements and units. What’s Physics. The experimental method. Measurement concept. Physics quantities. Scalar and vector quantities. Dimensional analysis. Fundamental quantities and SI units. Tabular and graphic representations. Vectors.

1.2 – Kinematics. Relativity of motion. Frames of reference. Position, displacement, trajectory, velocity and acceleration. Motion along a straight line. Motion in two and three dimensions. Motion under constant acceleration. Circular motion.

1.3 – Relative motion. Relative translational motion. Relative velocity. Uniform relative translation motion. Galileo’s transformations.

1.4 – Dynamics of a particle. Concept of free particle. Law of inertia. Linear momentum. Principle of conservation of momentum. Inertial references frames. Concept of force. Newton’s second and third laws. Units of force. Equilibrium and rest. Fundamental interactions in nature. Some particular forces: weight, elastic forces, frictional forces. Horizontal and vertical oscillators. Apparent forces in non-inertial reference frames. Central forces. Angular momentum. Torque of a force and angular momentum theorem. Central forces. Angular momentum conservation. Kepler’s laws. Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

1.5 – Work end energy. Impulsion. Work. Power. Units of work and power. Kinetic energy. Work-kinetic energy theorem. Work of a force constant in magnitude and direction. Conservative forces. Potential energy. Conservation of mechanical energy of a particle. Motion of a particle under a conservative force. Discussion of potential energy curves. Work done by non-conservative forces.
Fields of central forces. Double-conservative character of a central force field. Potential energy of gravitational force. Motion of a body under gravitational interaction. Escape velocity from the earth.

1.6 – Dynamics of a system of particles. Internal and external forces. Centre of mass (CM) of a system of particles: properties. Motion of CM. Linear momentum. Angular momentum of a system of particles. Cardinal laws of a system of particles. Proper energy of a system of particles. Angular momentum conservation and total energy conservation of a system of particles. The two-body problem: reduced mass.
Collisions between free particles. Impulsion approximation. Linear momentum conservation. Elastic and inelastic collisions in one dimension. Proper energy conservation. Collisions between a free particle and a rigid body. Angular momentum conservation.
Fluids. Fluid at rest. Hydrostatic pressure. Stevino's law. Archimede's principle. (hints).

2. Electrostatics and electrical current.

2.1 – Electrostatic force. Elctrostatic field. Electrical charges: positive and negative charges. Insulators and conductors. Electrical structure of matter: quantization and conservation of the electric charge. Coulomb’s law. Dielectric constant of vacuum. Electrostatic field. Units of electrical charge and of electrostatic field. Electrostatic fields of discrete and continuous distributions of charge. Superposition law. Lines of force of the electrostatic field. Motion of a point charge within an electrostatic field.

2.2 – Electric work. Electrostatic potential. Electromotive field. Electric work. Electrical tension. Electromotive force. Electrostatic potential: potential variation between two points. Units of electrostatic potential. Electrostatic potential energy. Electronvolt. Determination of potential differences between two points in presence of discrete and continuous distributions of charge. Motion of a charge within an electrostatic field: energy conservation.

2.3 – Conductors. Capacitors. Conductors in equilibrium. Electrostatic screen. Capacitors. Electrical capacity. Capacitors in serial and parallel arrangements. Electrostatic energy of a capacitor.

2.4 – Electrical current. Electrical conductance. Electrical current. Steady electrical current. Ohm’s law. Electrical resistance and resistivity. Resistors in serial and parallel arrangements. Electromotive force. Electric circuits as combination of electric generators and resistors. RC circuit. Electric charge conservation and Kirchhoff’s law for junctions. Energy conservation and Kirchhoff’s law for closed paths. Analysis of simple electrical circuits in steady current regime.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination consists of a written proof, consisting of both problems to be solved and of some questions to be answered.

Teaching aids