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ENG1080 - Foundation physics

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Engineering

Leader(s): Dr Andrew Smith


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


The unit introduces fundamental principles of physics of importance to engineering, and their applications. Topics include: Newtonian mechanics - forces, momentum, work and energy; torque and equilibrium; electricity - emf, Ohms Law, series and parallel resistors, power, capacitor and time constant; magnetism - force on currents and moving charges in magnetic fields, flux induced emf, DC motor and ideal transformer; basic wave properties, light and sound, superposition, standing waves; modern physics - photon model of light, wave model of particles, model of electrons in atom, emission and absorption of light; measurement, analysis, and written communication.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. recognise the basic principles of physics in simple situations relevant to engineering, and correctly apply them

  1. apply Newton's Laws, the work-energy theorem and conservation of energy and momentum to analyse cases of one-dimensional and uniform circular motion

  1. describe the propagation of transverse and longitudinal waves in terms of amplitude, frequency, wavelength, speed; describe and analyse the behaviour of reflected and refracted waves and standing waves in one dimension, for light and sound; explain the effects of diffraction and interference

  1. analyse simple DC circuits involving series and parallel resistors; properties of capacitor, and the RC series circuit; determine the force and the potential energy for charges; determine the force on currents in magnetic fields and induced emf as a result of changing magnetic flux.

  1. relate the photon properties of light to the photoelectric effect, use the wave properties of matter and de Broglie wavelength to explain behaviour of particles at the atomic scale

  1. make reliable measurements, estimate uncertainties, analyse, evaluate and interpret data in cases appropriate to engineering and related to the theory studied

  1. show an improved ability to work in teams, to discuss physics concepts and communicate measurements and applications related to engineering and developments in technologies

  1. approach new problems and find solutions on the basis of general principles, and evaluate the appropriateness of their proposed models or solutions.


Test: 8%
Quizzes/Assignments: 7%
Practical work: 25%
Examination (3 hours): 60%.

Contact hours

3 hours lectures, 3 hours practical work and 6 hours private study per week


BMS1031, ENG1801, PHS1031, PHS1080, PHS1617

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