Programme And Module Handbook
Course Details in 2018/19 Session

If you find any data displayed on this website that should be amended, please contact the Curriculum Management Team.

Module Title Classical Mechanics and Relativity 2
SchoolPhysics and Astronomy
Department Physics & Astronomy
Module Code 03 17272
Module Lead Prof Evans
Level Intermediate Level
Credits 10
Semester Semester 1
Pre-requisites Classical Mechanics and Relativity 1 - (03 19748)
Restrictions BSc/MSci Physics, Physics & Astrophysics, Physics & Space Research, Physics with Particle Physics, Theoretical Physics, Theoretical Physics & Applied Mathematics, Physics with Biomedical Physics, Physics with Business Management. Also available to BNat Sci students as an option
Contact Hours Guided independent study-76 hours
Lecture-24 hours
Total: 100 hours

This module develops the principles of mechanics and of special relativity, introduced in the first year. In this second phase, Newton's Laws are developed to handle more realistic problems. Starting with point-like particles, techniques are developed for handling many particle systems and extended rigid bodies. Damped simple harmonic motion is described and the behaviour of such a system under a periodic driving force is discussed. The module progresses from translational to rotational motion. Motion under a central, conservative force is described in and the effects of energy and momentum conservation are discussed. Motion in a rotating frame is discussed. In special relativity, the transformations of momentum and energy are reviewed with emphasis on the Lorentz invariants and their use in describing collisions.

Learning Outcomes By the end of the module the student should be able to:
  • Calculate the positions of the centre of mass and evaluate the moments of inertia of simple extended bodies;
  • Describe quantitatively simple harmonic motion and extend the discussion to include damping and also periodic driving forces; hence understand what is a resonance? and how it can be described in terms of the Q factor;
  • Understand the vector nature of angular momentum and hence describe gyroscopic motion;
  • Understand the concept of effective potential and describe in detail motion under a central conservative force;
  • Understand what is meant by a non-inertial frame and how motion in a rotating frame can be described in terms of centrifugal and Coriolis forces;
  • Use four-momentum squared to describe relativistic collisions.
Assessment 17272-01 : Exam : Exam (Centrally Timetabled) - Written Unseen (80%)
17272-02 : Continuous Assessment : Coursework (20%)
Assessment Methods & Exceptions One 1.5hr written examination (80%); Continuous assessment via weekly problem sheets (20%)
Reading List