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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2016 - 2017

Module Title Thermal & Physical Properties of Matter
Module Code PS105
School School of Physical Sciences

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the topics of heat, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The subjects taught and the method of approach will be chosen to give students a full and thorough knowledge of the topics. The module aims to develop students appreciation of thermal physics and to be able to confidently handle problems. Students will be able to see the relationship between the classroom material and their real-life experiences and observations.

Learning Outcomes

1. Be familiar with the basic physical concepts as they relate to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
2. Solve numerical problems in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
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
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study101No 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

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.

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

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.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment30% Examination Weight70%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • H. D. Young and R. A. Freedman: 0, University Physics, 12th edition, Addison Wesley,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
APBSc in Applied Physics
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
PBMBSc Physics with Biomedical Sciences
PHABSc in Physics with Astronomy
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SMPSCSingle Module Professional Science