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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Thermal Physics & Physics Laboratory 1
Module Code PS472
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eilish McLoughlin
Semester 2: Eilish McLoughlin
Autumn: Eilish McLoughlin
Module TeachersEilish McLoughlin
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to physical and thermal properties of matter. Topics covered include: temperature & heat - thermometers & temperature scales; thermal equilibrium; thermal expansion. Heat transfer; kinetic theory of gases; ideal gas law; heat capacities. Properties of matter - phases of matter; phase changes; stress, strain & elastic moduli. thermodynamics. Students will undertake experiments associated with discipline content modules; in order to enhance their practical skills, and to develop and enhance their inquiry-based teaching and learning approaches in physics practical work. The labs place emphasis on communication during and after experimentation, analysing experimental uncertainty, graphing and tabulation and evidenced-based reasoning. Students will submit laboratory portfolio of experiments conducted.

Learning Outcomes

1. Discuss basic physical and thermal properties of matter
2. Solve numerical problems on physical and thermal properties of matter
3. Explain physical principles related to thermal physics
4. Relate physical principles to topics covered in other modules.
5. Carry out physics experiments safely
6. Demonstrate conceptual understanding of introductory physics concepts in mechanics, optics and thermal physics
7. Construct and interpret graphs and tables.
8. Carry out basic investigations in physics independently.
9. Report on these investigations
10. State and test hypotheses
11. Reflect on learning

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hours of asychronous lectures per week accessed as pre-recorded videos
Online activity242 hours of scheduled synchronous online activities per week.
Tutorial24Student learning support facilitated through small-group tutorials with flexible provision.
Laboratory18Complete guided inquiry activities to enhance lab skills and conceptual understanding of physics concepts. Submit laboratory portfolio of experiments conducted.
Independent Study98Student self directed learning
Total Workload: 188

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

Temperature & Heat
Thermometers & temperature scales. Thermal equilibrium. Thermal expansion. Calorimetry & phase changes. Heat transfer

Kinetic theory of gases
Kinetic model of an ideal gas. Ideal gas law. Diffusion & mobility. Boltzmann factor & Maxwell distribution. Heat capacities.

Thermal properties of matter
Phases of matter. Phase changes & Clausius-Clapeyron equation.

First law of thermodynamics
Thermodynamic systems. Work done during volume changes. Internal energy & heat capacities. Adiabatic processes.

Second law of thermodynamics
Heat engines. Second law of thermodynamics. Carnot cycle. Microstates & macrostates. Multiplicity & entropy.

Physics Laboratories
Complete Physics laboratories either online or in the laboratory.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activitySolve physics problems based on mathematical/quantitative aspects of physical properties of matter.33%As required
Completion of online activitySolve physics problems based on mathematical/quantitative aspects of thermal physics concepts.33%As required
Laboratory PortfolioSubmission of laboratory report for experiments conducted.34%Sem 1 End
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

  • H. D. Young and R. A. Freedman: 0, University Physics (with Mastering Physics),, 15th edition Ed., Addison Wesley,
  • Eugenia Etkina, Gorazd Planinsic and Alan Van Heuvelen: 2019, College Physics: Explore and Apply, 2nd, 978- 01346018
Other Resources

49112, Online simulations, 0, Phet simulations, University of Colorado Boulder Phet simulations', https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations /,
Programme or List of Programmes
PDITPProfessional Diploma in Teaching Physics
SMPSCSingle Module Prof. Science and Health

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