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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Physical and Thermal Properties of Matter
Module Code PS105
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Oisin Creaner
Semester 2: Oisin Creaner
Autumn: Oisin Creaner
Module TeachersOisin Creaner
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat the module

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to static-equilibrium, elasticity, fluids, and thermal properties of matter.

Learning Outcomes

1. Discuss basic physical and thermal properties of matter
2. Solve numerical problems on physical and thermal properties of matter
3. Explain the physical principles which underpin the relevant experiments in the lab modules.
4. Relate the physical principles to topics covered in other modules.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture30No Description
Independent Study95No Description
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

Atoms and elasticity
Atomic structure of matter. Stress, strain & elastic moduli. Elasticity & plasticity. Thermal stress.

Fluids as applied to static and dynamic environments including Bernoulli's equation.

Introduction to Waves
longitudinal and transverse waves, physical picture, phenomena, and mathematical description

Sound and Hearing
Pressure oscillations in gasses, mathematics of sound waves, application to hearing.

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. Mean-free-path. Boltzmann factor & Maxwell distribution. Heat capacities.

Thermal properties of matter
Phases of matter. Phase changes & Latent heat.

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

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

Learning activities
The module has typically 15 graded homework assignments that vary from year-to-year, depending on the students' needs. They are 70% book-questions, and 30% the lecturer's.

Learning experience
'Lectures' are typically 50% working through previous Homework Questions, and 50% lecture on new material.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Completion of online activityGraded homework problems. This is a combination of (1) On-Line worked problems (via Mastering Physics) and (2) Customs Problems built by the Instructor to teach specific principles or real-world implementation of the course material. Students will be expected to explain their solution/approach with the class.24%n/a
In Class TestMid-term exams and a Final exam contributing 76% to the total grade. Typical breakdown of Marks & Material in exams is: 10% Mid-Term-1: Statics, Elasticity & Fluids 15% Mid-Term-2: SHM, Waves, Sound 20% Mid-Term-3 Thermal Physics 31% Final including review of previous material and the intersection of multiple elements within the course and previous modules (such as PS115). Questions are (mostly) multi-part worked questions and/or derivations, incorporating key definitions and elements seen in homework questions and/or in lecture.76%n/a
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, Addison Wesley,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
IESAOStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
PGEPhysics General Entry
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
Date of Last Revision29-JAN-09

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