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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Motion and Energy
Module Code PS115
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Robert O'Connor
Semester 2: Robert O'Connor
Autumn: Robert O'Connor
Module TeachersPaul Van Kampen
Eilish McLoughlin
Robert O'Connor
Jennifer Gaughran
Karsten Fleischer
Shane O'Sullivan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination
Semester One Examination Resits in August

This course is designed to give the student an introduction into the fundamentals of (Newtonian) mechanics and rotational dynamics. These topics are fundamental to further studies in a wide range of areas of physics. The course is a combination of conceptual understanding and numerical problem-solving.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe and discuss qualitatively the main physical concepts in the areas of Mechanics
2. Use mathematics, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and basic calculus (mainly differentiation) in describing appropriate aspects of mechanics.
3. Solve basic problems on the topics above using the various mathematical techniques above.
4. Utilise and leverage knowledge and techniques covered in earlier parts of the course to describe both qualitatively and mathematically and tackle problems in topics covered in later parts (e.g. confidently use vector analysis in later parts of the course)

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture36Whole group lecture
Independent Study89Self directed study of concepts and numerical problem solving including Mastering Physics
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Lecture Series: Units, physical quantities & vectors
SI units, physical quantities, scalars and vectors

Lecture Series: Motion along a straight line
Displacement, velocity and acceleration. Motion with constant acceleration. Motion under gravity.

Lecture Series: Motion in 2 or 3 dimensions
Using vectors to represent 2 or 3 dimensional motion. Projectile motion and circular motion.

Lecture Series: Newton’s Laws & applications
Force as a vector.Force, mass and acceleration. Free body diagrams. Friction, forces and acceleration.

Lecture Series: Work and kinetic energy
Work done by a force. Kinetic energy and motion. Force and power.

Lecture Series: Potential energy & conservation
Gravitational potential energy. Elastic energy and springs. Conservative and non-conservative forces

Lecture Series: Momentum, Impulse & collisions
Momentum and impulse. Conservation of momentum. Elastic and inelastic collisions.

Lecture Series: Rotation of rigid bodies
Angular motion, momentum and acceleration. Relation to linear quantities. Moment of inertia and torque.

Learning Activities
The main learning activities are attending lectures and the related learning activity of solving numerical and other problems related to the topics covered. Students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials and to prepare for both by appropriate study (including the use of on-line Loop resources provided and textbooks) and thus be able to engage fully in discussions and other interactions, such as live polling of conceptual understanding in lectures and tutorials. Students are further expected to prepare for in-class and other tests and end of module examinations via study and, as needed, discussion with the lecturer. Each section of the course is supported by Pearson's Mastering Physics Virtual Learning Environment. In particular, students complete a Dynamic Study Module related to each section of the course which can adapt to their learning requirements and identify gaps in their conceptual understanding of the subject matter. Numerical problem solving skills are supported by a YouTube channel which features extra tutorial questions with full worked solutions which can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC6YwqJ3XvEi6i8CplB8D_Q

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment40% Examination Weight60%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentWeekly Assignments from Mastering Physics covering primarily problem-based testing of the mathematical/quantitative aspects of the earlier topics40%Every Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Roger A. Freedman, A. Lewis Ford, Francis Weston Sears Hugh D. Young,: 2012, Sears and Zemansky's University Physics with Modern Physics, 13, 1-10,13, 978-0-321-76218-4
  • Mansfield and O'Sullivan: 2005, Understanding Physics, 6, Prentice Hall,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
PGEPhysics General Entry
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)

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