PHYSICS 2532 - Classical Physics II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Static equilibrium and dynamics, rotating reference frames, Kepler?s Laws for planetary systems, satellites and comets; orbits for interplanetary space travel, scattering in central force fields, trajectories of near-Earth meteorites. Thermodynamics of interacting systems, including the first and second laws of thermodynamics, concepts of equilibrium and entropy, and applications

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 2532
    Course Classical Physics II
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PHYSICS 1100, PHYSICS 1200, MATHS 2101 or MATHS 2106, MATHS 2102 - Other students may apply to Head of Physics for exemption
    Course Description Static equilibrium and dynamics, rotating reference frames, Kepler?s Laws for planetary systems, satellites and comets; orbits for interplanetary space travel, scattering in central force fields, trajectories of near-Earth meteorites. Thermodynamics of interacting systems, including the first and second laws of thermodynamics, concepts of equilibrium and entropy, and applications
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Ross Young

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. recognise that Newtonian mechanics provides models of the mechanical behaviour of objects;
    2. state the conservation principles involving momentum, angular momentum and energy and understand that they follow from the fundamental equations of motion;
    3. analyse the dynamics of a range of systems, and understand the concept of impending motion;
    4. demonstrate an understanding of Newtonian gravitational fields and central forces and their effects;
    5. analyse the dynamics of particles in rotating non-inertial reference frames using appropriate fictitious forces;
    6. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of basic concepts of thermodymanics;
    7. explain the concept of entropy and discuss its relevance to the second law of thermodynamics; perform calculations of entropy changes during thermodynamic processes;
    8. describe the operation of ideal and real heat engines and refrigerators and discuss their efficiency;
    9. choose principles and mathematical methods suitable for the treatment of a given problem;
    10. use the tools, methodologies, language and conventions of physics to test and communicate ideas and explanations.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Schroeder, D. V. (2000) An Introduction to Thermal Physics (Addison Wesley Longman)

    Fowles, G.R. and Cassidy, G. L. (1999) Analytical Mechanics 6th ed. (Saunders)

    Thornton, S.T. and Marion, J.B. (2008) Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems (Thomson)
    (can also be used for ‘Advanced Dynamics and Relativity III’)

    Recommended Resources

    Riedi, P.C. (1988) Thermal Physics, 2nd ed., (OUP, Oxford)

    Pippard, A.B. (1960) Classical Thermodynamics (Cambridge, London)

    Morse, P. M. (1969) Thermal Physics (Benjamin, NY)

    Carrington G. (1994) Basic Thermodynamics, (OUP)

    Arya, A.P. (1990) Introduction to Classical Mechanics, (Allyn and Bacon).

    Synge, J. L. and Griffith (1959) B. A., Principles of Mechanics, (McGraw-Hill)

    Symons, K. R. (1960) Mechanics, 2nd ed. (Addison-Wesley)

    Taylor, E. F. (1963) Introductory Mechanics (Wiley)

    French, A. P. (1971) Newtonian Mechanics (Norton)

    Goldstein, H. (1980) Classical Mechanics, (Addison-Wesley)

    Gregory, R.D. (2006) Classical Mechanics (Cambridge University Press)
    (can also be used for ‘Advanced Dynamics and Relativity III’)

    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course will be delivered by the following means:

    • Lectures 36 x 50-minute sessions with three sessions per week
    • Tutorials 11 x 50-minute sessions with one session per week

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary

    The course content will include the following:

    Coursework Content

    • Thermodynamics (33%)
      • Energy in thermodynamics: thermodynamic equilibrium; ideal gases; equipartition of energy; heat and work; heat capacity; enthalpy.
      • The second law including application to the Einstein solid and ideal gas.
      • Interactions and their consequences: entropy, temperature, pressure and chemical potential.
      • Applications of classical thermodynamics: ideal and eral heat engines and refrigerators; free energy and chemical thermodynamics.
    • Classical Mechanics (67%)
      • Torque, couples, equivalent systems
      • Static equilibrium
      • Friction: static and dynamic
      • Newtonian mechanics: motion of a particle
      • Oscillations: damped, resonant, driven, transfer functions
      • Central forces
      • Gravitational systems
      • Kepler’s Laws of planetary and satellite motion
      • Scattering
      • Non-inertial reference frames
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment taskType of assessmentPercentage of total assessment for grading purposesHurdle (Yes/No)Outcomes being assessed
    Tests Formative & Summative Min 10% - Max 40% No 1-10
    Tutorial preparation Formative & Summative Min 5% - Max 10% No 1-10
    Final exam Summative Min 50% - Max 85% Yes (40%) 1-10
    Assessment Related Requirements

    To obtain a grade of Pass or better in this course, a student must attend the examination and achieve at least 40% in the final exam.

    Assessment Detail

    2 x 50 minute, closed-book tests taken during the semester, which have a formative and summative role and address essential aspects of the learning objectives. Tests can contribute up to 40% to the final assessment, but may be partly redeemed in the final exam.

    Tutorial preparation
    To maximise the benefit of tutorials, students are required to submit their answers before the tutorial. Assessment is based on effort rather than correctness, this task has a formative and summative role. Tutorial preparation contributes from 5% to 10%.

    Final exam
    50% to 85%. This summative assessment activity comprehensively addresses the learning objectives.



    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a replacement examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. 

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.