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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS0016 Thermal and Materials Physics

10 creditsClass Size: 125

Module manager: Dr Aleks Ponjavic

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

- GCSE in Mathematics and Science-Physics or
- GCSE in Mathematics and Science.

Module replaces

PHYS0015 Mechanics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is designed for students who have not had the opportunity of an A level education in Physics, this module can teach you Physics to A level equivalent standards. The only prerequisite is GCSE level mathematics, or equivalent. PHYS0016 Materials teaches the basics of Thermal and Materials Physics.


On completion of the module students should be able to:

- understand and describe the 3 states of matter
- understand the phenomenon of temperature and its behaviour in the 3 states of matter
-Understand the electronic structure of atoms, ad how this leads to different forms of atomic bond.
- describe the concepts of thermal energy and thermal equilibrium and the First Law of Thermodynamics
- perform calculations involving specific heat capacity and latent heat capacity
- carry out calculations involving thermal conductivity and thermal radiation and thermal expansion
- describe and perform calculations involving the kinetic theory of a gas
- use Boyle's Law, Charles' Law and the Pressure Law
- describe the mechanics of liquid matter and perform calculations involving pressure, flotation and hydraulics
- apply the equations for simple harmonic motion to any system oscillating in relation to bonded atoms and different solid materials
- use the atomic properties of matter to understand the bulk material properties
- describe the structure of various solid materials and explain the relationship to their properties
- carry out calculations relating to the elastic behaviour of solid samples.

This module forms part of a package of three Physics modules which help to prepare students for entry to the level 1 Physics component of an appropriate degree programme and in conjunction with suitable modules at the same level in other subjects will prepare students for entry to a level 1 Engineering degree.

Skills outcomes
- An understanding in the concepts underlying matter and materials at a level comparable with the Advanced Level core syllabus so that they can proceed to level 1 of a degree program in Science or Engineering.

- The ability to model a physical problem.

- The ability to solve physical problems using mathematics.


- Properties of matter and the 3 states of matter
- What is energy and internal energy?
- The relation between temperature and molecular kinetic energy, Boltzmann's constant
- First law of thermodynamics
- Thermal conduction and conductivity; convection and radiation
- The equation of state for an ideal gas
- Thermal expansion
- The molar gas constant R and Avogadro's constant
- Pressure in an ideal gas
- Pressure and forces in a liquid
- Bonding
- Simple harmonic motion
- Elastic properties and behaviour of materials
- Young's modulus.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours8.00
Private study hours70.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Reading, online study materials and examples: 67 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Workshops and regular Top Hat quizzes

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Students will have to complete an in-person exam at the end of the module. This will take place during the examinations period at the end of the semester and will be time bound.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:37


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