May 28, 2023  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PH 2011A - Physics I - Mechanics

4 lecture hours 2 lab hours 4 credits
Course Description
This course is a calculus-based introduction to mechanics. Topics include linear and rotational kinematics and dynamics, work, energy, and momentum. The mathematical level of this course includes the use of vector algebra and elementary applications of differential and integral calculus. The laboratory part of the course emphasizes measurement precision, experimental technique, analysis of data, and report writing. Together with Physics II and Physics III (PH 2021 and PH 2031), this course provides one year of university level physics. No more than 4 credits can be counted in any combination with PH 113 or PH 130. This course is designed for students who did not take physics in high school or need a refresher course because they took a physics class in the past. (prereq: none) (coreq: MA 136  or MA 136A )
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Use calculus to develop kinematics equations for the position, velocity, and acceleration of an object as a function of time, and use these to solve kinematic problems
  • Use Newton’s Second Law of Motion to solve dynamics problems
  • Identify forces related to each other through Newton’s Third Law of Motion
  • Determine the work done on an object
  • Use the Work-Kinetic Energy Theorem to solve problems
  • Use the Conservation of Energy Principle and Conservation of Linear Momentum
  • Use the gravitational force law to solve dynamics problems
  • Relate the gravitational potential energy to the idea of a gravitational field
  • Evaluate the behavior of simple harmonic motion
  • Develop the kinematics equations for the angular velocity and angular acceleration of an object as functions of time, and use these to solve rotational kinematics problems
  • Evaluate the torque on a system and determine the angular acceleration and the moment of inertia of an object

Prerequisites by Topic
  • None

Course Topics
  • One dimensional kinematics with constant acceleration (2 classes)
  • Kinematics in two dimensions with constant or non-constant acceleration (6 classes)
  • Application of Newton’s Laws of Motion, for both static and dynamic problems (14 classes)
  • Work & energy, impulse & momentum (8 classes)
  • Simple harmonic motion (2 classes)
  • Gravitation (4 classes)
  • Testing (4 classes)

Laboratory Topics
  • An object in free fall
  • Projectile motion
  • Uncertainties in measurements; graphical analysis
  • Propagation of uncertainties
  • Friction
  • Free fall with air resistance
  • Conservation of mechanical energy
  • Work and energy
  • Oscillatory motion
  • Experimental design and analysis

Dr. Robert Olsson

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