Physics I

1 YEAR 2 semester 12 CREDITS
Maria Richetta 2019-20
Emmanuele Peluso –

2021-22 to 2023-24

Code: 8037948


Students will improve their knowledge under three main aspects: a) the comprehension and the related capability to articulate the arguments discussed throughout the course, using the proper scientific vocabulary and style; b) the methodological attitude toward complex problems, more specifically, to decompose a physical phenomenon into simpler elements to reach efficaciously a correct explanation; c) an elastic, fluid and reactive way of thinking, based on an inquisitive and hungry developed attitude toward new challenges.

Knowledge of the main arguments related to classical mechanics, gravitation, mechanical waves, elastic properties of solids and thermodynamics. Identification of the physical quantities and of the conservation principles needed to explain the main physical phenomena behind the above reported topics. Understanding scientific texts related to the course, and the acquisition of proper vocabulary and style.

Capability to achieve the correct solution of complex classical mechanical, gravitation, mechanical waves, elastic properties of solids and thermodynamics problems, through an effective and methodologically correct understanding and application of the principles governing the physical phenomena described. Capability to apply the acquired scientific way of thinking to new problems by comprehending, analysing and also modelling autonomously.

Students are supported to improve their critical way of thinking and to develop an independent judgment able to pose, refine and elaborate scientific questions. The purpose is to pave the way to a free and active research spirit based on a questioning elastic and hungry mind.

The students are expected to master, through familiarity with the arguments studied and through a developed practice refined in the framework of the course, a specific focus, style and proper scientific vocabulary.

Capability to understand, analyse, and model a physical phenomenon crossing different principles learnt during the course. Considering problems related to the topics of the course, students are expected to solve them and articulate the reasons behind the main assumptions followed. An inquisitive attitude, a proper scientific way of reasoning and communicative skills are therefore expected to be acquired during the course.


Mechanics (main arguments considered):
• Measurements and fundamental quantities; coordinate systems; elements of vector calculus;
• Relative motion and Galilean transformation; Inertial and non-inertial frames of reference; Fictitious forces;
• The point mass concept; kinematics; from rectilinear to general curvilinear motion on a plane; dynamics; the principle of conservation of momentum; Newton’s laws; the concept of force as interaction; angular momentum; torque; impulse; energy and work: conservative and dissipative forces; conservation principles; discussion of potential energy curves.
• From the point-mass to systems of particles: external and internal forces; Center of Mass (CM): definition, calculus and dynamics; angular momentum and torque for systems; the CM and laboratory frame of reference; König theorem part I and part II; energy of a system; reduced mass;
• Collisions: generality, impact parameter; elastic, partially inelastic and perfectly inelastic collision;
• From systems to the rigid body; moment of inertia: main properties and relationships; statics and dynamics; work on a rigid body; kinetic energy of a rigid body; pure rolling and sliding; rolling friction; systems with variable mass;
• Oscillatory motion: simple harmonic motion; energy of simple harmonic motion; superposition of simple harmonic motions; coupled oscillators; damped oscillations; forced oscillations;

Elastic properties of solids (main arguments considered):
• Young, Shear and Bulk moduli; elastic and plastic deformations; elastic hysteresis.

Gravitation (main arguments considered):
• Kepler’ s laws; Cavendish experiment; Newton’s law of universal gravitation; gravitational potential; a reduced mass approach; bounded and unbounded orbits; escape velocity; geostationary orbit;

Mechanical waves (main arguments considered):
• generality; transverse and longitudinal waves: velocity and equation of the waves; sound waves; intensity of waves; interference; Doppler effect; supersonic waves;

Fluids (main arguments considered):
• Introduction to fluids; mechanical actions on fluids; statics of fluids; Torricelli’s experiment; Archimede’ s principle; Pascal’s principle; fluid and conservative forces; fluids in non-inertial frames of reference; fluids dynamics: Lagrangian and Eulerian approaches; stationary motions; volumetric flow rate; Bernoulli’ s equation; Venturi’ s effect; considerations on real fluids: laminar and turbulent flows; viscosity; Reynolds’ number; considerations on drag forces in fluids;

Thermodynamics (main arguments considered):
• Main concepts of thermodynamics; zeroth principle of thermodynamics; the first principle of thermodynamics; internal energy, heat and work; Ideal gases and ideal gas law; P-V diagram; molar specific heats; heat capacity; main processes in thermodynamics; real gases; Wan der Waals equation; phase transitions; second principle of thermodynamics; Carnot cycle; Carnot theorem; Clausius theorem; entropy; thermodynamic Universe; Enthalpy, Helmholtz free energy, Gibbs free energy; Dalton’ s principle.


Students can use the book that best suits them. However, the references cited below are the ones considered during the course:
1. “Fundamental University Physics Volume 1: Mechanics”, by Alonso & Finn
2. “Fundamentals of Physics”, by Halliday & Resnick
3. “Physics for Scientists and Engineers”, by Serway & Jewett