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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title Physical and Thermal 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 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
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 (with Mastering Physics), 15th edition, Addison Wesley,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
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)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
IESAOStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
PGEPhysics General Entry
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)